Telemedicine Consult for Shortness of Breath Due to Sympathetic Crashing Acute Pulmonary Edema
This simulation is appropriate for senior and junior emergency medicine residents.
Shortness of breath is a very common presentation in the emergency department and can range from mild to severe as well as a chronic or acute onset. In sympathetic crashing acute pulmonary edema (SCAPE), patients typically present with acute onset of dyspnea occurring within minutes to hours and have significantly elevated blood pressure.1 The condition of SCAPE falls into the spectrum of acute heart failure syndromes such as fluid overload pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure exacerbation.1
At the completion of the simulation and debriefing, the learner will be able to: 1) recognize the physical exam findings and presentation of SCAPE, 2) utilize imaging and laboratory results to further aid in the diagnosis of SCAPE, 3) initiate treatments necessary for the stabilization of SCAPE, 4) demonstrate the ability to assist with the stabilization and disposition of a patient via tele-medicine as determined by the critical action checklist and assessment tool below, 5) interpret the electrocardiogram (EKG) as atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response (AFRVR), and 6) recognize that SCAPE is the underlying cause of AFRVR and continue to treat the former.
This simulation was performed using a high-fidelity mannequin. In order to simulate the telemedicine aspect, the learner evaluated the patient using a video conferencing interface while the two confederates were present with the high-fidelity mannequin. A debriefing session was held immediately after the simulation.
The educational content was evaluated by debriefing and verbal feedback provided immediately after the case. Additionally, a survey was emailed to participants and observers of the case to provide qualitative feedback.
Post-simulation feedback was overall positive with participants and observers. Participants and observers felt this was a safe and realistic simulation of SCAPE and provided them with the opportunity to practice rapid recognition and treatment of this condition.
Sympathetic crashing acute pulmonary edema falls into the spectrum of acute heart failure disorders, and rapid recognition and stabilization is vital for the patient’s survival. This simulation case provided learners of all levels the chance to assess and treat a life-threatening condition with limited information in a safe and effective learning environment.
The telemedicine component was used while conducting weekly didactics via zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simulation is a large component of our didactic curriculum and implementing the telemedicine component into this case was worth the effort. It is important to familiarize our residents with telemedicine since we expect that it will become a larger part of the practice of emergency medicine in the future, allowing board-certified emergency medicine physicians to assist in providing care in rural emergency departments and smaller hospitals that may be staffed with less experienced providers.
Medical simulation, tele-medicine, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress, cardiac emergencies, resuscitation.