Acute asthma exacerbations in children are extremely common. Most asthmatic exacerbations respond quickly to basic treatment with beta-agonists, anticholinergics, and steroids. This case highlights the management of those patients who need treatment that goes beyond the basics.
Elliot, a seven-year old boy, is brought to the emergency department after six days of fever and lethargy. He has a rash, diarrhea and decreased urine output. Both his parents are healthcare workers with possible COVID-19 exposures.
This case involves an 8 year-old boy with upper airway obstruction from sausage. When indirect treatment fails, removal with Magill forceps under direct visualization is required. The patient slowly recovers after removal of foreign body but will require admission for monitoring.
The team has been called to the ED after a 12-month old is brought in with a rapid heart rate. The team will realize the patient is in a stable SVT rhythm, with no response to either vagal maneuvers or adenosine. The patient will then progress to having an unstable SVT. If the SVT is defibrillated (i.e. – shocked without synchronization), the patient will progress to VT arrest. If the SVT is cardioverted, the patient will clinically improve.
The team has been called to help in the ED after a 1 month-old male is brought in seizing. The team is expected to manage the seizure, but then will subsequently realize on examination there are concerning signs for non-accidental trauma, specifically head injury. The team will be expected to establish definitive airway management and consult with PICU and local child protection services.
A 15 year-old male with no prior medical history is brought to the ED by his parents for lethargy, shortness of breath and chest pain. He was feeling run down for the past 4 days with URTI symptoms.
The ED team is called to manage a 2-year-old boy in severe respiratory distress with stridor and hypoxia. Initial management steps (humidified O2, nebulized epinephrine and dexamethasone) fail to improve the patient’s respiratory status, and the team must prepare for a difficult intubation. They will encounter difficulties with both bagging and passing the endotracheal tube due to airway edema, which will necessitate an emergency needle cricothyroidotomy.
The team has been called to help in the ED where a woman just precipitously gave birth to a baby now requiring resuscitation. The mom thinks she’s at term. She has had no prenatal care and is an iv drug user. The baby will be flat. After stimulation and drying, the baby will have a HR <100 and PPV will be required. After 60 seconds, the HR will still be <60 and CPR will need to be started. This will be short lived. The team will also need to intubate and obtain IV access.
A 7-year-old male presents with wheeze, rash and increased WOB after eating a birthday cake. He has a known allergy to peanuts. The team must initiate usual anaphylaxis treatment including salbutamol for bronchospasm. The patient will then develop worsened hypotension, requiring the start of an epinephrine infusion. After this the patient will experience increased angioedema, prompting the team to consider intubation. If no paralytic is used for intubation (or if intubation is delayed), the patient will experience laryngospasm. The team will be unable to bag-mask ventilate the patient until they ask for either deeper sedation or a paralytic. If a paralytic is used, the team will be able to successfully intubate the child.
The learners receive a call from a peripheral hospital about transferring an unwell 8-year-old girl with new DKA. She has been incorrectly managed, receiving a 20cc/kg bolus for initial hypotension as well as an insulin bolus of 8 units (adult sliding scale dose for glucose of >20). The learner must perform a telephone consultation and dictate new orders. On arrival, EMS will state that they lost the IV en route, and the patient will become more somnolent in the ED. The learner should begin empiric treatment for likely cerebral edema and concurrently manage the DKA. Physical exam will show a peritonitic abdomen with guarding in the RLQ. Empiric Abx should be started for likely appendicitis. Due to decreasing neurologic status and vomiting, the patient will eventually require an advanced airway. The challenge is to optimize the peri-intubation course and ventilation to allow for compensation of her metabolic acidosis.