Preface Access to free airways is the first consideration in emergency situations, such as at the scene of an accident, and respiratory emergencies represent an important part of acute medicine in general. Respiratory problems also play a crucial part in critical care medicine and constitute an important share of the numerous problems in an intensive care unit. As breathing difficulties are experienced with anguish, these symptoms can generally be very frightening, particularly to those suffering from them. It seems reasonable to assume that respiratory emergencies are mostly handled by physicians specialised in respiratory diseases. However, this is far from the case and the tradition in this regard varies from country to country. In some countries, there is close collaboration between respiratory and intensive care units, whereas in other countries this collaboration is occurs less frequently. It may also be problematic finding novel scientific achievements within the field of respiratory emergencies since there is no clear forum for these kinds of publications. The number of scientific papers emphasising respiratory emergencies finding their way into respiratory journals is not overwhelming, which is a pity and is something that we could, and should, try to change in the future. As a result, those interested in respiratory emergencies who are searching for compiled information focused in this field have to put in a great deal of work seeking information from various sources. Therefore, it is very satisfying and a great pleasure to announce this issue of European Respiratory Monograph on respiratory emergencies. In this issue of the monograph, different aspects of respiratory emergencies have been covered by the best specialists in the field. The Monograph gives insights into acute respiratory events due to exacerbations of obstructive pulmonary diseases, infections, accidents, neuromuscular disorders, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and much else. It is my hope that it will reach many readers and that it may help to throw a bridge across between specialists in respiratory and intensive care medicine. K. Larsson Editor in Chief Eur Respir Mon, 2006, 36, viii. Printed in UK - all rights reserved. Copyright ERS Journals Ltd 2006 European Respiratory Monograph ISSN 1025-448x. viii
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