Resuscitation Prior to Emergency Endotracheal Intubation: Results of a National Survey
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Resuscitation Prior to Emergency Endotracheal Intubation: Results of a National Survey

  • Author(s): Green, MD, Robert S.
  • Fergusson, PhD, Dean A.
  • Turgeon, MD, MSc, Alexis F.
  • McIntyre, MD, MHSc, Lauralyn A.
  • Kovacs, MD, MHPE, George J.
  • Griesdale, MD, MPH, Donald E.
  • Zarychanski, MD, MSc, Ryan
  • Butler, MSc, Michael B.
  • Kureshi, MBBS, Nelofar
  • Erdogan, PhD, Mete
  • et al.

Introduction: Respiratory failure is a common problem in emergency medicine (EM) and critical care medicine (CCM). However, little is known about the resuscitation of critically ill patients prior to emergency endotracheal intubation (EETI). Our aim was to describe the resuscitation practices of EM and CCM physicians prior to EETI.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was developed and tested for content validity and retest reliability by members of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. The questionnaire was distributed to all EM and CCM physician members of three national organizations. Using three clinical scenarios (trauma, pneumonia, congestive heart failure), we assessed physician preferences for use and types of fluid and vasopressor medication in pre-EETI resuscitation of critically ill patients.


Results: In total, 1,758 physicians were surveyed (response rate 50.2%, 882/1758). Overall, physicians would perform pre-EETI resuscitation using either fluids or vasopressors in 54% (1,193/2,203) of cases. Most physicians would “always/often” administer intravenous fluid pre-EETI in the three clinical scenarios (81%, 1,484/1,830). Crystalloids were the most common fluid physicians would “always/often” administer in congestive heart failure (EM 43%; CCM 44%), pneumonia (EM 97%; CCM 95%) and trauma (EM 96%; CCM 96%). Pre-EETI resuscitation using vasopressors was uncommon (4.9%). Training in CCM was associated with performing pre-EETI resuscitation (odds ratio, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.44-3.36, p < 0.001).


Conclusion: Pre-EETI resuscitation is common among Canadian EM and CCM physicians. Most physicians use crystalloids pre-EETI as a resuscitation fluid, while few would give vasopressors. Physicians with CCM training were more likely to perform pre-EETI resuscitation. [West J Emerg Med. 2016;17(5)542-548.]


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