Tag Archive for: RSI

Cricoid Pressure in Airway Management: The IRIS Trial

15 Nov
November 15, 2018

Background: Cricoid pressure is dead, right? Many have made this claim including a brilliant argument against its use by John Hinds here. Despite the many eulogies, we continue to hear about cricoid pressure so it makes sense that we dive in to the background prior to addressing the recent JAMA Surgery publication.

Cricoid pressure was first described by Dr. Sellick in the 1960’s though similar techniques were described as far back as the 1770s (Sellick 1961). The Sellick’s maneuver entailed the application of pressure over the cricoid cartilage with the thumb and 1-2 additional fingers.  The goal was to compress the cricoid cartilage against the esophagus in order to occlude the esophagus and prevent regurgitation of stomach contents into the upper airway. Initial studies on the maneuver suffered from a bevy of methodological flaws including small n, lack of blinding or randomization and selection bias. Despite this, Sellick’s maneuver was widely adopted and taught to hordes of anesthesia, critical care and emergency residents.

Studies investigating cricoid pressure in the last decade have demonstrated a number of issues with claims that it can prevent passive regurgitation. Check out this free chapter on EMRAP for an in depth discussion. Dynamic MRI studies demonstrate that application of pressure to the cricoid cartilage displaces the esophagus laterally instead of occluding it (Smith 2003, Boet 2012). An ultrasound study demonstrated similar findings: in 60% of patients the esophagus was lateral to the airway and cricoid pressure led to displacement rather than occlusion in all patients. (Tsung 2012).

Additionally, application of cricoid pressure decreases airway patency and increases the chance that your view of the airway will be obscured. (Allman 1995, Palmer 2000, Smith 2002, Oh 2013). Finally, no study to date has demonstrated a reduction in aspiration episodes with the application of cricoid pressure. A large observational study of pregnant patients undergoing C-sections found no difference in aspiration events and that the overall aspiration event rate was low (Fenton 2009). However, up until this point, there has not been a high-quality, randomized controlled trial performed. Read more →

Succinylcholine or Rocuronium for 1st Pass Success Rate

08 Jun
June 8, 2018

Background: Administration of a neuromuscular blocker (NMB) is an essential part of Emergency Department  (ED) airway management for facilitating ideal airway conditions and is most commonly performed with either succinylcholine or rocuronium. Despite extensive debates between providers, one agent has not been shown to be superior to other. Limited anesthesia literature has shown that succinylcholine may provider better intubating conditions but it has a number of contraindications (which may not be initially apparent)(Shoenberger 2018). Rocuronium at high doses has a similar onset of action to succinylcholine and may provider longer safe apneic times (Swaminathan 2018). This study seeks to add more information to the clinical discussion. Read more →

RSI, Predictors of Cardiac Arrest Post-Intubation, and Critically Ill Adults

10 May
May 10, 2018

Background:Intubation is a commonly performed procedure in the ED and ICU. We have discussed the physiologically difficult intubation before on REBEL EM.  One of the tenants in managing these patients is “resuscitate before you intubate.”  Two publications in the past [1][2] discussed the incidence and risk factors associated with cardiac arrest complicating RSI.  In the first study [1], 542 patient underwent emergency intubation, 4.2% had a cardiac arrest, meaning nearly 1 in 25 intubations were associated with cardiac arrest.  In the second study [2], 2,403 patients underwent emergency tracheal intubation, and 1.7% had a cardiac arrest, meaning nearly 1 in 60 intubations were associated with cardiac arrest.  A new study in Critical Care Medicine was just published looking at the prevalence and risk factors associated with intubation (RSI) in 64 ICUs in France. Read more →

The ENDAO Trial: Is Apneic Oxygenation a Futile Intervention in ED RSI?

21 Aug
August 21, 2017

Background: One of the most feared complications associated with rapid sequence intubation (RSI) is hypoxemia ultimately leading to cardiac arrest.  The FELLOW Trial, a recent randomized controlled trial demonstrated no difference in hypoxemia rates between patients that received apneic oxygenation and those that did not (i.e. “usual practice”) in the ICU.  What many forget about this trial is 1/3 of the patients were pre-oxygenated with a bag valve mask and another 1/3 of the patients with a BIPAP device, meaning that 2/3rds of these patients were not truly apneic during the period that induction medications were pushed up to laryngoscopy.  Currently, there is a lack of high quality research on the use of apneic oxygenation in the ED setting.  Many still use the intervention as it is cheap, easy to do, with no increase in patient harm, but there are still naysayers that do not feel the intervention is warranted in standard RSI practice. Read more →

Etomidate vs Ketamine in Trauma RSI

16 Mar
March 16, 2017

Background: Etomidate and ketamine are both routinely used as induction agents during rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in trauma patients. It is well established that etomidate transiently suppresses the adrenal gland through inhibition of the 11-beta hydroxylase enzyme. Though adrenal suppression in theory can cause deleterious outcomes, there is no high-quality evidence demonstrating a change in patient centered outcomes with it’s use in comparison to alternate agents. Ketamine has long been an alternative induction agent to etomidate but historical concerns, though disproven in more recent literature, limited it’s use due to concerns over increasing intracranial pressure. Read more →