Approach to Shortness of Breath

Approach to, Cardiology, Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Respiratory

A brief approach to shortness of breath:

For more details, please see post for each clinical topic:

Allergic reaction/Anaphylaxis




Pulmonary Embolus



Respiratory Distress – Flipped Classroom Summary

Acute Coronary Syndrome

Cardiology, Cardiovascular, Chest pain

Part 1: Presentations of ACS

Part 2: ECG changes in ACS

(Note: This is not a comprehensive approach to ECG.  For ECG approach, please see ECG approach on the skills page)

Part 3: Non-ECG modalities for diagnosis

Part 4: Treatment for ACS


Other resources:

Reading the ST segment on ECG on Life in the Fast Lane blog (includes discussion on non-ischemic causes of ST elevation/depression)

Ultrasound images for Pericardial effusion on Life in the Fast Lane blog

Aortic Dissection

Approach to, Cardiology, Chest pain, Uncategorized

Worked example:

Part 1 – We discuss the presentations of aortic dissection

Part 2 – We discuss the investigations and treatment of aortic dissection (Note we use the Stanford classification for discussing treatment)

Other resources:

Case discussion from Life in the fast lane – with CT images (courtesy of Peter Allely)

ACLS: Cardiac Arrest

Cardiology, Resuscitation

Here are the 2010 ACLS Guidelines for Cardiac Arrest. This catch-all category encompasses anything without a pulse, but what had previously been separated out into the separate rhythms of ventricular fibrillation, pulseless ventricular tachycardia, asystole and pulseless electrical activity. I love the fact that they simplified this into one algorithm – and they stress:

  • early, deep and uninterrupted chest compressions, and
  • early defibrillation (when indicated – VF/VT)

The first video covers the algorithm and drugs

The second video goes into more details about these drugs

The third video looks at PEA and asystole

Other resources:

Summary from Academic Life in Emergency Medicine 

iResus app (Free) based on the UK resuscitation council guidelines

Written summary of videos (by AJ Kadhim-Saleh)

ACLS: Airway

Airway, Cardiology, Resuscitation

Here’s an introduction to ACLS 2010, an important skill you should pick up not only for your ER rotation, but for all your rotations! Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be putting up more vids as I make ’em.

Again, leave me feedback in the comments.

The first part of ACLS is A and B… yes, the order has changed to CAB for adults suffering from likely cardiac causes, but I’m old fashioned, so let’s cover A & B first…

So let’s talk about capnography and intubations, etc. The use of capnography is a big change in the new 2010 guidelines. Looks like we got some new equipment to buy.



Part 1 Recognition and classification of bradycardic rhythms

Part 2 Recognition and classification of tachycardic rhythms

Basic Discussion
(Suitable for junior clerks)

In-depth Discussion
(Suitable for senior clerks and above)

WPW syndrome

Other learning and teaching resources:

Strip Tease – Can you analyze rhythm strips quickly?

How can you remember Mobitz I and II ? (Video credit: U of Alberta Med 2010 class)