Category: Thoracic and Respiratory

Asthma and COPD

COPD and asthma exacerbations are two of the most common pulmonary diseases we encounter in Emergency Medicine, and the severity of these attacks can vary from mild and basic to severe. It’s a clinical diagnosis, but there are lots of treatments to consider. Don’t be overwhelmed, we will cover a basic approach today.

Pulmonary Embolism

This week we are having the talk… The PE talk. It will be one of the most high yield episodes we will ever have on the show. Before listening, please look up the Well’s Score and the PERC rule for reference, and email me with any questions.


Kline, J. A., & Kabrhel, C. (2017). Emergency Evaluation for Pulmonary Embolism, Part 2: Diagnostic Approach. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 49(1), 104–117.

Shortness of Breath

The most important thing to remember about shortness of breath is that you need to keep your thoughts and actions focused by using an organized approach. I recommend thinking anatomically. The differential diagnosis for this complaint is huge, and it’s really easy to make mistakes if you don’t develop a system. Also, you MUST calculate a Well’s Score and PERC criteria for your patients with shortness of breath. This is how you determine what tests to pick when you evaluate for pulmonary embolism. Learn this now, because your attendings will quiz you on this frequently during your clerkships.

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