|A crash cart ready for action|
Usually the cart is compiled of a tool cart.
The cart is on wheels so it can be transported to different areas where an emergency will be. It's generally available in case a patient goes into respiratory or cardiopulmonary arrest (heart and breathing stop), or for emergencies often referred to as codes or code blues.
Yet the cart is also used to treat impending or active symptoms that could lead to more serious complications if not treated immediately, such as new onset symptomatic supraventricular tachycardia.
It's also carted to the bedside of patients who don't look quite right, and in this case a rapid response team is called. The goal here is to avert an impending emergency situation by treating early signs and symptoms of failure, such as mental changes, vital sign changes, and erratic heart rhythms. (Learn when to call a doctor by clicking here).
On top the cart is usually a heart monitor with defibrillators to monitor the heart and to shock the patient if required.
Next to the heart monitor is a box or bag with respiratory therapy equipment needed to intubate and manage the airway of a patient should the patient stop breathing, or should the breathing become inadequate. Also up on top is a clipboard one nurse will use to record. This nurse if often referred to as the recorder.
Sometimes the respiratory equipment is locked inside one of the drawers, although I think it's best on top the cart for easy access in an emergency.
In the drawers are suction equipment and an assortment of emergency medicines for all sorts of situations that might arise in an emergency situation. It will have Advanced Cardiac Life Support medicine like epinepherine, atropine, amioderone, cardizem, dopamine, etc. It may also have Albuterol in case the patient is having trouble breathing and nebulizer equipment.
When there is an emergency situation most hospitals are now universal in calling overhead "Code Blue!" When this is called all members of the code team are to report to the specific location, with one member bringing the crash cart.