The critical care literature 2018

Am J Emerg Med. 2020 Mar;38(3):670-680. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2019.11.032. Epub 2019 Nov 28.


An emergency physician (EP) is often the first health care provider to evaluate, resuscitate, and manage a critically ill patient. In recent years, the annual hours of critical care delivered in emergency departments (EDs) across the United States increased more than 200% (Herring et al., 2013). In addition to seeing more critically ill patients, EPs are often tasked with providing critical care long beyond the initial resuscitation period. In fact, more than 50% of ED patients that require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) remain in the ED for more than 6 h (Rose et al., 2016). Longer ED boarding times for critically ill patients is associated with a negative impact on inpatient morbidity and mortality (Mathews et al., 2018). It is during these early hours of critical illness, while the patient is in the ED, where lives can be saved or lost. Therefore, it is important for the EP to be knowledgeable about recent developments in critical care medicine. This review summarizes important articles published in 2018 pertaining to the resuscitation and care of select critically ill patients. We chose these articles based on our opinion of the importance of the study findings and their application to clinical care in the ED. The following topics are covered: cardiac arrest, post-arrest care, septic shock, rapid sequence intubation, mechanical ventilation, fluid resuscitation, and metabolic acidosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • United States