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Emerg Med J. 2011 Feb;28(2):94-7. doi: 10.1136/emj.2005.030643. Epub 2010 Nov 26.

Critical care in the emergency department: acute respiratory failure.

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St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside L35 5DR, UK.


Acute respiratory failure (ARF) is a frequent emergency department (ED) presentation. The definition and common causes of ARF are discussed in this article and ED management of the condition is discussed, using an illustrative case report. The paper considers the role of B-type natriuretic peptide in diagnosis and non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in treatment. Intensive care unit admission denial is common in ARF, although the evidence base is lacking. Finally, the decision-making process is described when a patient with ARF fails to improve with NIV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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