Paramedic-performed rapid sequence intubation of patients with severe head injuries

Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
Annals of Emergency Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.68). 09/2002; 40(2):159-67. DOI: 10.1067/mem.2002.126397
Source: PubMed


We evaluate the ability of paramedic rapid sequence intubation (RSI) to facilitate intubation of patients with severe head injuries in an urban out-of-hospital system.
Adult patients with head injuries were prospectively enrolled over a 1-year period by using the following inclusion criteria: Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3 to 8, transport time of greater than 10 minutes, and inability to intubate without RSI. Midazolam and succinylcholine were administered before laryngoscopy, and rocuronium was given after tube placement was confirmed by means of capnometry, syringe aspiration, and pulse oximetry. The Combitube was used as a salvage airway device. Outcome measures included intubation success rates, preintubation and postintubation oxygen saturation values, arrival arterial blood gas values, and total out-of-hospital times for patients intubated en route versus on scene.
Of 114 enrolled patients, 96 (84.2%) underwent successful endotracheal intubation, and 17 (14.9%) underwent Combitube intubation, with only 1 (0.9%) airway failure. There were no unrecognized esophageal intubations. On arrival at the trauma center, median oxygen saturation was 99%, mean arrival PO2 was 307 mm Hg, and mean arrival PCO2 was 35.8 mm Hg. Total out-of-hospital times were higher when RSI was performed on scene (26 versus 13 minutes).
Paramedics can use RSI protocols that include neuromuscular blocking and sedative agents to facilitate intubation of patients with head injuries.

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Available from: Peter Rosen, Feb 16, 2015
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    • "Because this decreases paramedic usage, they are available to respond quickly to more complicated emergency situations. Evidence suggests that this model allows paramedics to keep their skill set current, as mentioned above1234567. "

    Preview · Article · Jan 2015
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    • "The need for alternative airway management devices especially in emergency care is evident. The value of paramedic performed prehospital intubation is undetermined [12], and even highly trained paramedical personnel have been shown to have difficulties with this procedure [13]. Maintaining adequate skills poses a further problem. "
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    ABSTRACT: Airway management is of essential importance in emergency care. Training and skill retention of endotracheal intubation (ETI) - the technique considered as the "gold standard" -, poses a problem especially among care providers experiencing a low frequency of airway management situations. Therefore, alternative airway devices such as the laryngeal tube (LT) with potentially steeper learning curves have been developed and studied. Our aim was to evaluate in a manikin model the use of LT after no other training than written instructions only. To evaluate the amount of training required to use the LT in a scenario of airway compromise, we assessed the feasibility of providing written instructions and pictures showing its use to 67 out- and in-hospital emergency care providers attending an Emergency Care conference. The majority of the participants were either nurses or firemen with a median of 5 years' history of work in emergency care. In this study 55% of all participants inserted the LT on the first attempt without additional instructions. An additional 42% required verbal instructions before successful insertion. Overall, 97% of the participants successfully inserted the LT with two attempts.In logistic regression analysis, no relationship was detected between background variables (basic education, experience of emergency work, frequency of bag-valve-mask ventilation (BVM) and frequency of ETI) and successful insertion of the LT in less than 30 seconds, ability to maintain normoventilation (7 l/min) and need for further instructions during the test. We found that in this pilot study majority of emergency care providers could insert LT with one or two attempts with written instructions, pictures and verbal instruction. This may provide an option to simplify the training of airway management with LT.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Scandinavian Journal of Trauma Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
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    • "intubation (RSI). Evidence exists that supports the ability of paramedics to perform RSI [1], and it is currently taught in the national paramedic curriculum [2]. Recently, these protocols have come under scrutiny on a large scale, and several points of concern have emerged. "
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    ABSTRACT: Endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a motor skill that demands practice. Emergency medical service providers with limited intubation experience should consider using airway adjuncts other than ETI for respiratory compromise. Prehospital ETI has been recently interrogated by evidence exposing worsened patient outcomes. The laryngeal tube (LT) airway was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003 for use in the United States. Using difficult airway-simulated models, we sought to describe the time difference between placing the ETI and LT and the successful placement of each adjunct in varied levels of healthcare providers. Emergency medicine resident physicians, fourth year medical students, and paramedic students were asked to use both ETI and the LT. Subjects were timed (seconds) on ETI and LT placement on 2 different simulators (AirMan and SimMan; Laerdal Co, Wappingers Falls, NY). After ETI was complete, they were given 30 seconds to review an instructional card before placement of the LT. We measured placement time and successful placement of the device for ETI vs LT. Successful placement in the manikin was defined by a combination of breath sounds, chest rise, and absence of epigastric sounds. Overall mean placement time in the AirMan and SimMan for ETI was 76.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 63.3-89.5) and 45.9 (95% CI, 41.0-50.2) seconds, respectively. Mean placement time for the LT in the AirMan and SimMan was 26.9 (95% CI, 24.3-29.5) and 20.3 (95% CI, 18.1-22.5) seconds, respectively. The time difference between ETI and LT for both simulators was significant (P < .0001). Successful placement of the LT compared with ETI in the AirMan was significant (P = .001). A significant time difference and simplicity exists in placing the LT, making it an attractive device for expeditious airway management. Further studies will need to validate the LT effectiveness in ventilation and oxygenation; however, its uncomplicated design allows for successful use by a variety of healthcare providers.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2007 · American Journal of Emergency Medicine
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