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Nasal Cannula Apneic Oxygenation Prevents Desaturation During Endotracheal Intubation: An Integrative Literature Review

  • Author(s): Gleason, Joshua M.
  • Christian, Bill R.
  • Barton, Erik D.
  • et al.
Abstract

Patients requiring emergency airway management may be at greater risk of acute hypoxemic events because of underlying lung pathology, high metabolic demands, insufficient respiratory drive, obesity, or the inability to protect their airway against aspiration. Emergency tracheal intubation is often required before complete information needed to assess the risk of procedural hypoxia is acquired (i.e., arterial blood gas level, hemoglobin value, or chest radiograph). During pre-oxygenation, administering high-flow nasal oxygen in addition to a non-rebreather face mask can significantly boost the effective inspired oxygen. Similarly, with the apnea created by rapid sequence intubation (RSI) procedures, the same high-flow nasal cannula can help maintain or increase oxygen saturation during efforts to secure the tube (oral intubation). Thus, the use of nasal oxygen during pre-oxygenation and continued during apnea can prevent hypoxia before and during intubation, extending safe apnea time, and improve first-pass success attempts. We conducted a literature review of nasal-cannula apneic oxygenation during intubation, focusing on two components: oxygen saturation during intubation, and oxygen desaturation time. We performed an electronic literature search from 1980 to November 2017, using PubMed, Elsevier, ScienceDirect, and EBSCO. We identified 14 studies that pointed toward the benefits of using nasal cannula during emergency intubation.

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