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ABSTRACT: Non-medicine-assisted tracheal intubation in prehospital trauma is associated with a dismal prognosis. We wished to study the outcome of medical patients who underwent non-medicine-assisted tracheal intubation. This retrospective study of patients attending our university hospital emergency department was conducted over seven years. The tracheal intubation database was analysed to identify medical patients not in cardiac arrest undergoing tracheal intubation without medicines. Intensive care unit, hospital, 12-month mortality and patients' residence at 12 months were recorded. Eighty patients were identified who met inclusion criteria. The most common reason for intubation was definite airway compromise due to decreased conscious level (62.5%), then respiratory failure (26.3%) and finally potentially compromised airway due to a decreased conscious level (11.2%). Eighty-eight percent of patients with a definitely compromised airway were successfully intubated at first attempt compared with 66.7% of patients with a potentially compromised airway or respiratory failure (P= 0.03). Of 75 patients with complete data, 30 (40%) were survivors at 12 months, with all but two (6.7%) living at home. Non-medicine-assisted laryngoscopy leads to an increased first time tracheal intubation failure rate in patients with intact airway reflexes and, therefore, cannot be recommended as best practice.
Scottish medical journal 05/2012; 57(2):84-7. · 0.29 Impact Factor