CritCases is a collaboration between Dr. Mike Betzner, director of STARS air ambulance service and EM Cases.

There are many approaches and therapeutic options in critical care that do not have a strong evidence base to guide us. We use our clinical judgement, gestalt and basic principles to make rapid decisions. This blog explores therapeutic options to various challenging critical care scenarios through an interactive case-based, Q&A framework. The case unfolds in a step-wise manner, as it would in real practice, and integrates opinions from critical care providers, not only from STARS, but from around the world. Each blog includes an open peer review from an expert on the given topic. Welcome to CritCases!

CritCases 11 LVAD Management in the GI Bleed Patient

In this CritCases blog Mike Misch presents a case of a patient with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) with a postoperative acute lower GI bleed and answers practical questions such as:  How do you measure blood pressure in a patient with an LVAD? What are the common complications of LVADs that we must be aware of? What information can the LVAD controller provide? Why are LVAD patients at high risk for bleeding? and many more...

CritCases 10 Hyponatremia Associated Seizures

In this EM Cases CritCases blog - a collaboration between STARS Air Ambulance Service, Mike Betzner and EM Cases, a middle aged woman presents to a rural ED with headache and vomiting, normal vital signs with subsequent status epilepticus and serum sodium of 110 mmol/L. What management recommendations would you make to the rural ED physician, the transport team and in your ED with regards to treatment of seizures, safe correction of hyponatremia, airway management, search for underlying cause and prevention of Osmotic Demyelenation Syndrome?

CritCases 9 Pre-Eclampsia and Preterm Labor – Time Sensitive Management

In this CritCases blog we present a case of a 30 week gestational age pregnant woman with high blood pressure, headache, blurry vision and pelvic cramping. We discuss the management challenges of transporting a patient with severe pre-eclampsia and preterm labor, with special attention to dosing of magnesium, antihypertensive agents choice, and indications for steroids, tocolytics and antibiotics.

CritCases 8 Management of Elevated ICP

In this CritCases blog - a collaboration between STARS Air Ambulance Service, Mike Betzner and EM Cases, we take you through a not uncommon stroke presentation which then develops into a challenge with regard to management of elevated ICP, hypertension and the airway...

CritCases 7 Pulmonary Hypertension – A Fine Balance

In this CritCases blog - a collaboration between STARS Air Ambulance Service, Mike Betzner and EM Cases we discuss a challenging case of pulmonary hypertension where a fine balance in volume resuscitation, oxygenation and ventilation is critical.

CritCases 6 – Airway Obstruction

In this EM Cases CritCases blog - a collaboration with STARS Air Ambulance Service, Mike Betzner, we present a challenging airway obstruction case, the limitations of non-rebreather masks, using PEEP on bag-valve-masks, heliox, tips on awake intubation, and the differential for high peak inspiratory pressures in the post intubation period. With commentary by Michael Betzner and Reuben Strayer as well as expert peer review by George Kovacs...