Medical Diagnostic Equipment During SHTF

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kd4ulw

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I’m sure many of us have put thought into our first-aid supplies and having not only those preps but the knowledge to treat those that become injured during a time when medical care might not be a phone call away. But have you thought the diagnostic equipment that is available now that can help you figure out what might be going on that’s not so apparent? With some research and training even the more complex items can be used effectively and understood.

Here are some thoughts (and equipment) I have, let me know what skills and items you might have that would add to this discussion.

Blood Pressure Monitor

Keeping a close eye on your blood pressure is key to your long-term health. High blood pressure (hypertension) is known as the “silent killer” due to the lack of obvious signs. Prolonged hypertension can lead to heart damage and an increased risk of stroke.

7D1792C5-8315-47D3-B54F-96B7BA00753C.jpeg

There are a wide variety of blood pressure monitoring devices out there from the classic manual inflation units with a stethoscope to automatic battery-powered systems that self-inflate (which is easier to use to take your own readings alone).



Heart Rhythm Monitor

These devices can help you diagnose a wide range of cardiac issues. The one that I have even has software built-in that helps to determine irregular rhythms. It has contacts on two sides that are either held with the hands or one hand and then placed against your left side chest, both ways for a quick 30 second test. It also comes with chest leads that can be attached for longer monitoring. Monitoring tests are saved to memory and can be printed by attaching to a computer.

These were handheld readings, the top ones being mine and the bottom a friend who has A-fib
BDFE4A9B-F754-4889-A568-E61EF1D204D9.jpeg

You can see the better trace with the leads attached. NOTE: I could only get this to work with three leads and the lead color setup isn't what is typically seen on normal medical units.
85CFCD57-98B1-40F4-98C1-C93F9FE0F59D.jpeg

Pulse Oximeter

Used to quickly determine the percentage of oxygen in the bloodstream. Will also give you pulse count in beats-per-minute. Useful for symptoms seen with COVID, pneumonia, congestive heart failure (CHF).

199AB2EF-82E2-450E-8A89-C54E98159133.jpeg

Blood Glucose Monitor

While most diabetics have monitoring tools others usually don’t and a testing unit might be a prudent addition to your medical supplies, especially if you might end up with extended family or friends in your care.



I hope this helps, please feel free to list any products you have experience with. I suppose I should add the disclaimer that, while I was an EMT for 10 years, seek proper medical advice for any symptoms you may have. 😉
 

Spikedriver

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I’m sure many of us have put thought into our first-aid supplies and having not only those preps but the knowledge to treat those that become injured during a time when medical care might not be a phone call away. But have you thought the diagnostic equipment that is available now that can help you figure out what might be going on that’s not so apparent? With some research and training even the more complex items can be used effectively and understood.

Here are some thoughts (and equipment) I have, let me know what skills and items you might have that would add to this discussion.

Blood Pressure Monitor

Keeping a close eye on your blood pressure is key to your long-term health. High blood pressure (hypertension) is known as the “silent killer” due to the lack of obvious signs. Prolonged hypertension can lead to heart damage and an increased risk of stroke.

View attachment 79073

There are a wide variety of blood pressure monitoring devices out there from the classic manual inflation units with a stethoscope to automatic battery-powered systems that self-inflate (which is easier to use to take your own readings alone).



Heart Rhythm Monitor

These devices can help you diagnose a wide range of cardiac issues. The one that I have even has software built-in that helps to determine irregular rhythms. It has contacts on two sides that are either held with the hands or one hand and then placed against your left side chest, both ways for a quick 30 second test. It also comes with chest leads that can be attached for longer monitoring. Monitoring tests are saved to memory and can be printed by attaching to a computer.

These were handheld readings, the top ones being mine and the bottom a friend who has A-fib
View attachment 79075

You can see the better trace with the leads attached. NOTE: I could only get this to work with three leads and the lead color setup isn't what is typically seen on normal medical units.
View attachment 79074

Pulse Oximeter

Used to quickly determine the percentage of oxygen in the bloodstream. Will also give you pulse count in beats-per-minute. Useful for symptoms seen with COVID, pneumonia, congestive heart failure (CHF).

View attachment 79078

Blood Glucose Monitor

While most diabetics have monitoring tools others usually don’t and a testing unit might be a prudent addition to your medical supplies, especially if you might end up with extended family or friends in your care.



I hope this helps, please feel free to list any products you have experience with. I suppose I should add the disclaimer that, while I was an EMT for 10 years, seek proper medical advice for any symptoms you may have. 😉
The glucose monitors have gotten quite inexpensive. Some of the cheapest ones are of dubious quality, but will still tell you enough to diagnose a very high or very low glucose event with reasonable accuracy.

I used the Relion Premier brand for years. $20 for the unit, $18 for 100 testing strips. It isn't the single best unit out there, but it is good enough to keep you alive and healthy if you're diligent about using it. I should add that you'll need a way to obtain the blood sample. The little finger pokers are cheap and you don't need the applicator. In a pinch they can be reused although it's not really recommended unless you can disinfect them.
 

Spikedriver

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We have the others, but not the heart monitor. Was trying to talk ultrasound tech daughter into getting a portable of her own. Everyone should have a stethoscope, too. And an ear scope.
Good call on the stethoscope. I've got an old school blood pressure pump thingy that came with one. I'll have to dig it out and see if it's any good...
 

backlash

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We have all but the heart monitor. I'm not sure why I would want one of those. Even if there is a heart problem what could I possibly do about it without professional help?
The glucose monitor would be of limited use.
Add a good thermometer preferably one that doesn't require batteries.
With my hearing a stethoscope is a waste of time. I can't hear a really loud whistle so a heart beat would be no go.
I know most of you already have this book but it might be of interest to other folks.
 

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angie_nrs

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Good post. I have all except the heart monitor. I know how to spot A-fib, tachycardia and bradycardia without a monitor (as do most people), so I'm not sure what good one would do me in a SHTF situation. An AED unit could be useful and may even have the monitor included, but if someone needed an AED in a SHTF situation, their prognosis usually isn't very good without some other intervention and/or meds.

I have a couple of good Litmann stethescopes and a sphygmomanometer so I can take a manual BP. It doesn't require batteries or upkeep for the most part, so if stored properly, it should outlast you. I also like the automatic ones as well b/c it would allow a provider to multi-task if the environment isn't quiet, and may be more accurate than getting a BP the old fashioned way......if batteries are fresh. I also like the old style thermometers as well as the new battery operated ones. They both could come in handy in a situation when the other may not work so well.

I have a glucose monitor with strips, but those strips might be outdated by now. They can be pricy. The makers sell the machines for cheap so that they can make up for it on the strips.

I love the pulse ox. Those are cheap and they provide really good information. If you can figure out the reason for low oxygen saturation, then it is something that might be treated in a SHTF situation. I keep water pills in my stash along with Abx and other things in case someone should need them. A stethescope in this situation is also a must to try and accurately diagnose the issues of a low O2 sat reading. As a bonus, the pulse ox also registers a constant pulse, so that is helpful information as well, especially if you don't have the heart monitor. For the price.....the pulse ox is for sure my most beloved piece of equipment, especially when paired with a good stethescope.
 

kd4ulw

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We have all but the heart monitor. I'm not sure why I would want one of those. Even if there is a heart problem what could I possibly do about it without professional help?
The main thing that comes to mind is the situation where someone has chest pains but thinks that it’s heartburn. If not in SHTF you could possibly make the call earlier for medical intervention.
 

SoJer

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Great thread. :cool:

...please feel free to list any products you have experience with...
We finally 'succumbed to the justification' for This lil pup www.amazon.com/dp/B08T6LR1KW/ (..have had the Prince 180D / SpO2 attachment for quite some time in the 'Crash Box' in my daily-driver.. Works 'OK', like you say..) ..But liked the 'more All-in-One' of This unit, (Temp / Resp / SpO2 / HR / BP, etc) though personally, I still prefer a Manual cuff / Steth for BP, but..

..This would give us a better way to have 'contiguous post-trauma monitoring', if there's ever 'surgery' to be done (mostly, thinking Dental, which we've Also fully-prepared to Do / got some decent 'real world .edu' On.. Will have to 'see how it goes', if / when it ever comes to that, but.. Got the 'tools' / coaching from our DDS 👍

Works well (for 'normal profiling') but.. Don't have any abnormal 'subjects' to test it on, so.. We shall see, but, so far, it seems a Solid unit, and it's Better than 'guessing'.. :cool:

jd
 

Bacpacker

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I've got both manual and automatic BP tools, multiple glucose meters and test strips, 1 O2 meter. Don't have the heart monitor.
Good call on the ear scope.
i bought a big medical bag from a guy (EMT) that was moving. It's loaded with stuff, including some out of date IV solutions. More than I know how to use. But I figured for $100 it was worth having if the situation ever arose and someone was around with medical training.
 

goshengirl

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Great suggestions!

The only one of those items I have is the pulse-ox.
Bought one almost 30 yrs ago to be able to monitor my baby's asthma. (We needed to have certain equipment at home to keep him out of the hospital.) No small deal, as it cost $1000.
A month ago I bought another one. Tiny little thing. Only $20.
Amazing.
 

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