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J Am Dent Assoc. 2010 May;141 Suppl 1:20S-4S.

Basic management of medical emergencies: recognizing a patient's distress.

Author information

  • 1School of Dental Medicine, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, NV, USA. kr@klrdmd.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW:

Medical emergencies can happen in the dental office, possibly threatening a patient's life and hindering the delivery of dental care. Early recognition of medical emergencies begins at the first sign of symptoms. The basic algorithm for management of all medical emergencies is this: position (P), airway (A), breathing (B), circulation (C) and definitive treatment, differential diagnosis, drugs, defibrillation (D). The dentist places an unconscious patient in a supine position and comfortably positions a conscious patient. The dentist then assesses airway, breathing and circulation and, when necessary, supports the patient's vital functions. Drug therapy always is secondary to basic life support (that is, PABCD).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

Prompt recognition and efficient management of medical emergencies by a well-prepared dental team can increase the likelihood of a satisfactory outcome. The basic algorithm for managing medical emergencies is designed to ensure that the patient's brain receives a constant supply of blood containing oxygen.

PMID:
20436086
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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