Critical Care

What equipment is standard in most emergency rooms?

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  • A Emergency Medicine, answered on behalf of
    What equipment is standard in most emergency rooms?
    Curious about the medical equipment emergency physicians and nurses use in the ER? Watch as ER physician Jen Waxler, MD, from Brandon Regional Hospital, offers insight on what standard -- and specialized -- medical devices are common in the ER.
  • Emergency Departments are stocked with a huge array of intricate and oddly shaped, beeping and blinking equipment. It all serves an important purpose

    • Stethoscope
    • A stethoscope can be an incredibly useful diagnostic tool. It lets a nurse or doctor listen to heart and respiratory sounds. For example, stethoscopes are especially good at hearing a heart murmur, a sign of a possibly abnormal heart valve.

      When listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, a doctor can diagnose diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, collapsed lungs or congestive heart failure.

      A stethoscope also is used to take blood pressure. A nurse listens to the flow of blood through arteries.

    • Cardiac Monitor
    • Cardiac monitors give a visual display of the heart rhythm. This can be very useful, particularly during a heart attack when a patient can suddenly develop a lethal cardiac rhythm. A patient is connected to the monitor by three sticky patches on the chest, attached to the monitor via wires. The monitors are set to alarm if the heart rate goes above or below a predetermined number.

    • Suture Tray
    • This tray contains the sterile equipment needed to place stitches in a patient with a laceration. Equipment includes: a needle holder, forceps (used to hold the lacerated tissue), sterile towels (to drape off non sterile areas of the body), scissors, and small bowls (that hold antiseptic solutions).

    • Orthopedic Equipment
    • Most emergency rooms have a generous number of orthopedic devices. These can include plaster and/or fiberglass materials to splint limbs that are fractured or severely injured. Pre-made splints for specific joints also can be found including knee immobilizers, finger splints, Velcro wrist splints, shoulder slings, air splints and cervical collars – not to mention cast cutters for when a cast has become too tight.

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