Basic lung function is designed to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. In order to transfer oxygen from atmospheric air to the blood stream three functions must be in place: ventilation, diffusion, and perfusion. Ventilation is the process of air moving into and out of the lungs.
For a technician, the daily assessment of their critical care patients often begins with rounds. After receiving a brief verbal history and synopsis of presentation, diagnostics, and treatments a tech is ready to take over the care of that patient. Of primary importance is an initial hands on assessment.
Pleural space disease is a common cause of respiratory distress in emergent and critical patients. Air, fluid, exudates, chyle, blood, and herniated abdominal organs may be present in the thoracic cavity.
Unlike the popular home and garden channel TV shows that boast remodeling of room or house structures, remodeling of fluid compartments within the critical care patient is not the effect a clinician desires. Unfortunately, many of our critical patients have trauma or disease processes that result in an imbalance between fluid compartments.
Sustained hypotension is a life threatening situation where the body's major organs (kidney, liver, brain, and heart) can experience irreversible damage from inadequate perfusion pressure. Veterinary technicians may encounter hypotension frequently when caring for emergency and critical care patients, as well as anesthetized or post operative patients who are frequently at risk of systemic hypotension.