VentWorld Case Studies
SB: 40 Year Old Female in Respiratory Failure
Published July 16, 2001
William French and Christopher Joyce
Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, OH
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SB, a 40-year-old female, was admitted to the intensive care unit for shortness of breath, respiratory failure, and sepsis. Past medical history medical history was significant only for a splenectomy experienced in 1974 following a MVA. Recent history included cold and flu-like symptoms for the past five days. Upon admission, she had inspiratory crackles in the mid- and lower-lung fields, dry, non-productive cough, and a temperature of 38.5 C.
Examination revealed a female who is alert and oriented, but extremely short of breath, with accessory muscle use. SpO2 on a nasal cannula at 4 Lpm was 95%. Arterial blood gases taken an hour after admission were as follows:
The oxygen was increased to 6 Lpm, and the patient was monitored over the next ninety minutes with no improvement in shortness of breath. A second set of ABGs was obtained:
On the basis of the blood gas results and the patient’s clinical appearance, it was decided to intubate her and place her mechanical ventilation via a Puritan-Bennett 7200 ventilator. The settings were:
|Tidal Volume||450 mL||Flow||100 Lpm|
The patient was assisting the ventilator at 38 breaths per minute. Approximately one hour later, another arterial blood gas sample was obtained:
In response to these data, the FiO2 was decreased to 35% and the patient was started on sodium bicarbonate via IV.
Physical examination revealed coarse crackles throughout both lung fields and sinus tachycardia. Chest radiograph showed atelectasis of the left lower lobe with mild edema. Analysis of ventilator pressures indicated an increased airway resistance. Subsequent laboratory data revealed extreme leukocytosis (WBC count 44,900), mild anemia (Hgb 9.8), renal failure, and an increased anion gap. SB was started on four different antibiotics, Lasix, and moderate sedation.
She was maintained on ventilatory support for nine days until renal and liver function improved, sedation was decreased, and she successfully weaned. ABGs taken post-extubation were:
|FIO2 via NC||2 Lpm|
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