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K+, Ca, pH, huh?: Lab Values for EMS Providers-Stephanie Louka

We are often called to a facility to transport a patient to the hospital due to an abnormal lab value. Did you know that a high potassium (K+) can be fatal, an elevated lactate may be more than just sepsis, and sodium (Na+) imbalance is a potentially fatal cause of altered mental status? We'll cover the basics of common labs and panels (BMP, CBC, cardiac enzymes, ABG) and identify when to be concerned for possible patient deterioration.

Learning Objectives:

1. Know which pages and specific labs to review closely when handed a stack of paper from a nursing home.

2. Define and understand basic labs (Na, K, CL, Cr, BUN, troponin, lactate, ABGs)

3. Risk stratify lab abnormalities to understand when patients are at risk for deterioration during transport

4. Discuss available prehospital interventions to correct the more dangerous abnormalities like hyperkalemia (elevated potassium)

5. Perform basic blood gas interpretation (pH, CO2, O2)


Shapiro NI et al. Serum Lactate as a Predictor of Mortality in Emergency Department Patients with Infection. Ann Emerg Med. May 2005, Vol 45, Iss 5, 524-528.

  • Format
  • Duration
    1 hour
  • Credits
    1 CE
  • After passing the course, your certificate will be available for download here.