This poll question first appeared in the EMT Review study center a couple months ago. It’s a pathophysiology question, and we noticed that very few students got the correct answer. The answers selected showed very little understanding of pathophysiology.
The stem was straightforward: Which of the following would you expect to see in a trauma patient experiencing blood loss?
The distractors shouldn’t have been particularly challenging. Let’s take a look at them: JVD and widening pulse pressure are actually opposite of what you would expect to see in a trauma patient experiencing blood loss. Poor skin turgor can indicate volume depletion, but this is a later sign. Increased vascular tone is an early and predictable reaction to blood loss. ⇒ Resource: Bleeding and Shock Study Guide
Some students may have read the question too quickly (watch out for that on the NREMT!) or picked an answer at random just to see the correct answer. But what about the students who tried and got it wrong? They may not have gotten the pathophysiology they needed in class. Pathophysiology is still relatively new for EMT classrooms, so it may not be taught in depth or terms like “vascular tone” may not come up often enough.
To be optimally prepared for the NREMT, you’ll need to know different terms (constriction, resistance and tone) for the same concept. ⇒ Resource: Medical Terminology and the NREMT Exam
The concept of vascular tone applies to cardiology, anaphylaxis and sepsis, too. If you missed the poll question or are struggling to understand pathophysiology concepts, here are some resources you should spend some time on:
⇒ Pathophysiology Interactive Test
⇒ Ask Me Anything, March 2016 (Recorded Webinar)
⇒ Pathophysiology Study Guide: Airway and Ventilation
⇒ Pathophysiology Study Guide: Lifespan Development
⇒ Pathophysiology Study Guide: Perfusion and Shock