Newborn Resuscitation

This case is written by Dr. Kyla Caners. She is a staff emergency physician in Hamilton, Ontario and the Simulation Director of McMaster University’s FRCP-EM program. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

Approximately 10% of newborns require some degree of resuscitation upon delivery, with less than 1% requiring active resuscitation.1 Given that deliveries in the ED are relatively rare, this means that performing NRP in the ED is quite uncommon. On the other hand, the ED team must be able to respond quickly and efficiently to a flat neonate. This means that practising NRP is paramount – and what better way to do so than with simulation! This case highlights three key pieces of NRP, including:

  • The need to warm, dry, and stimulate immediately
  • The quick progression to positive pressure ventilation if stimulation doesn’t work
  • When to initiate CPR, the necessary 3:1 compression:ventilation ratio, and how to place hands for performing CPR on a neonate

Clinical Vignette

You are working in the minor area of your ED and have been called by the physician on the major side to assist with a precipitous delivery. He is managing the mother and wants you to be ready to resuscitate the infant if needed. The mom thinks she’s term. She’s had no prenatal care and is an IV drug user. She used earlier today. There no meconium staining noted in the amniotic fluid. Baby has just been delivered and is handed to your team.

Case Summary

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.

Download the case here: NRP Case


  1. Barber CA, Wyckoff MH. Use and efficacy of endotracheal versus intravenous epinephrine during neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the delivery room. Pediatrics2006;118:10281034doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-0416

Breech Delivery + NRP

This case is written by Dr. Donika Orlich. She is a PGY5 Emergency Medicine resident at McMaster University who also completed a fellowship in Simulation and Medical Education last year.

Why it Matters

All deliveries in the Emergency Department are considered high risk. Further, in most departments, both delivery and neonatal resuscitation are rare events. However, Emergency physicians must be prepared to manage all presentations – including breech delivery! This case highlights several important components of managing these rare presentations, including:

  • The need to adequately prepare the room (if time permits)
  • The importance of calling for a second physician to be available to manage the neonate upon delivery
  • How to safely perform a breech delivery
  • The step-wise progression of neonatal resuscitation post-delivery

Clinical Vignette

EMS Patch: “We have a 19 F complaining of severe abdominal pain onset 1 hour ago. She denies being pregnant, but looks almost full term to us. Contractions seem to be about 1 minute apart. Patient’s Vitals as follows: HR 120, BP 140/85, RR 20, O2 100% on RA. ETA 2 minutes.”

Case Summary

A 19-year-old female presents with EMS in active labour. She denies any history of pregnancy and has had no prenatal care. On examination, infant will be in breech position. The learner must deliver the infant from breech presentation. Following this, the neonate will will present lifeless, and require resuscitation.

Download the case here: Breech + NRP


Postpartum Hemorrhage and NRP

This case is written by Dr. Donika Orlich. She is a PGY5 Emergency Medicine resident at McMaster University who also completed a fellowship in Simulation and Medical Education last year.

Why it Matters

Deliveries in the Emergency Department are, by definition, high risk deliveries. However, they are relatively rare. This case highlights some of the “worst case scenarios” that one may face after a delivery in the ED. In particular, it showcases:

  • The key first steps required for NRP in the 60 seconds after delivery
  • The later stages of NRP, including CPR and intubation
  • The approach to a patient with postpartum hemorrhage, including transfusion, fundal massage, administration of uterotonics, and a search for retained products

Clinical Vignette

EMS Patch: “We have a 26 year-old female who is 38 weeks pregnant and appears to be in active labor. She is complaining of severe abdominal pain and has had some vaginal bleeding. We don’t see any crowing yet, but the patient feels the baby’s head is about to come out. Patient’s Vitals as follows: HR 120, BP 140/85, RR 20, O2 100% on room air. ETA 2 minutes.”

Case Summary

The team receives advanced notification from EMS about a woman who is imminently delivering. Upon arrival, delivery will be uncomplicated, but the neonate will appear lifeless. Neonatal resuscitation should be initiated. Eight minutes into the neonatal resuscitation, the team leader will be notified that the mother continues to hemorrhage and is becoming hypotensive. They must begin concurrent workup and management of the mother while continuing to run the neonatal resuscitation. Second & third line medical therapies for uterine atony will be needed, and also manual uterine exploration and packing. Early consultation should be made to NICU, ICU, OB, and Interventional Radiology.

Download the case here: PPH and NRP Combined Case