Prehospital definitive airway is not associated with improved survival in trauma patients

Avishai M. Tsur, Roy Nadler, Nir Tsur, Alex Sorkin, Tarif Bader, Avi Benov, Elon Glassberg, Jacob Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The American College of Surgeons and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians advise securing a definitive airway if there is any doubt about the trauma patient's ability to maintain airway integrity. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between a success in securing a definitive airway in the prehospital setting and survival among trauma patients, in which the provider deemed a definitive airway was necessary. METHODS: The study included all trauma patients recorded in the Israel Defense Forces Trauma Registry between the years 2006 and 2018 for whom a prehospital attempt of securing a definitive airway was documented. The successful definitive airway group was defined by explicit documentation of success in either endotracheal intubation or cricothyrotomy. Logistic regression was performed to determine the association between success in securing a definitive airway and survival. RESULTS: A total of 566 (3.6%) trauma patients underwent attempts to secure a definitive airway (successful in 425 patients and unsuccessful in 141). Prehospital survival rates were similar (77.6% vs. 78.0%, p = 0.928) between the groups. Whether the definitive airway was successful did not affect the rates of prehospital survival, neither before (odds ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-1.54) nor after adjustment for the other factors (odds ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-1.46). CONCLUSION: This study was unable to find an association between a successful definitive airway in the prehospital setting and survival, even after adjustment for injury characteristics and in multiple models. Furthermore, survival rates were high among trauma patients in which the provider deemed a definitive airway as necessary yet failed in securing one. These results suggest that the liberal use of these invasive airway procedures in the prehospital setting should be reconsidered. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Retrospective study, lebel III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S237-S241
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Volume89
Issue number2S Suppl 2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

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