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Acute Medical Emergencies: The Practical Approach, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4443-2022-0
536 pages
July 2011, BMJ Books
Acute Medical Emergencies: The Practical Approach, 2nd Edition (144432022X) cover image


Acute Medical Emergencies is based on the popular Advanced Life Support Group course MedicALS (Medical Advanced Life Support) and is an invaluable resource for all doctors dealing with medical emergencies.

This comprehensive guide deals with the medical aspects of diagnosis and treatment of acute emergencies. Its structured approach teaches the novice how to assess and recognise a patient in an acute condition, and how to interpret vital symptoms such as breathlessness and chest or abdominal pain.

There are separate sections on interpretation of investigations, and procedures for managing the emergency. It covers procedures for acute emergencies occurring anywhere - on hospital wards or beyond. The clarity of the text, including simple line illustrations, ensure its tried and tested procedures provide clear, concise advice on recognition and management of medical emergencies.

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Table of Contents

Working Group.

Contributors to first edition.

Contributors to second edition.

Preface to second edition.

Preface to first edition.


Part I: Introduction.

Chapter 1 Introduction.

Chapter 2 Recognition of the medical emergency.

Part II: Structured Approach.

Chapter 3 A structured approach to medical emergencies.

Chapter 4 Airway assessment.

Chapter 5 Breathing assessment.

Chapter 6 Circulation assessment.

Chapter 7 Disability assessment.

Part III: Presenting Complaints.

Chapter 8 The patient with breathing difficulties.

Chapter 9 The patient with shock.

Chapter 10 The patient with chest pain.

Chapter 11 The patient with altered conscious level.

Chapter 12 The ‘collapsed’ patient.

Chapter 13 The overdose patient.

Chapter 14 The patient with a headache.

Chapter 15 The patient with abdominal pain.

Chapter 16 The patient with hot red legs or cold white legs.

Chapter 17 The patient with hot and/or swollen joints.

Chapter 18 The patient with a rash.

Chapter 19 The patient with acute confusion.

Part IV: Organ Failure.

Chapter 20 Organ failure.

Part V: Special Circumstances.

Chapter 21 The elderly patient.

Chapter 22 Transportation of the seriously ill patient.

Chapter 23 The pregnant patient.

Chapter 24 The immunocompromised patient.

Chapter 25 The patient with acute spinal cord compression.

Part VI: Interpretation of Emergency Investigations.

Chapter 26 Acid–base balance and blood gas analysis.

Chapter 27 Dysrhythmia recognition.

Chapter 28 Chest X-ray interpretation.

Chapter 29 Haematological investigations.

Chapter 30 Biochemical investigations.

Part VII: Practical Procedures.

Chapter 31 Practical procedures: airway and breathing.

Chapter 32 Practical procedures: circulation.

Chapter 33 Practical procedures: medical.

Part VIII: Appendix.

Appendix: Drugs commonly used in the management of medical emergencies.

Answers to time out questions.


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Author Information

Advanced Life Support Group
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"Nevertheless, senior nurses with training responsiblitiies will find this book an invaluable reference source and, on this basis, copies should be kept in emergency departments as well as university and hospital libraries". (Emergency Nurse, 1 March 2011)
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