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Int J Gen Med. 2012;5:117-21. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S28478. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Initial assessment and treatment with the Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure (ABCDE) approach.

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Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus.


The Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure (ABCDE) approach is applicable in all clinical emergencies for immediate assessment and treatment. The approach is widely accepted by experts in emergency medicine and likely improves outcomes by helping health care professionals focusing on the most life-threatening clinical problems. In an acute setting, high-quality ABCDE skills among all treating team members can save valuable time and improve team performance. Dissemination of knowledge and skills related to the ABCDE approach are therefore needed. This paper offers a practical "how-to" description of the ABCDE approach.


emergency medicine; general medicine; internal medicine; multiple injury; multiple trauma

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