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Impact of Post-Intubation Interventions on Mortality in Patients Boarding in the Emergency Department


Introduction: Emergency physicians frequently perform endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. The impact of instituting early post-intubation interventions on patients boarding in the emergency department (ED) is not well studied. We sought to determine the impact of post-intubation interventions (arterial blood gas sampling, obtaining a chest x-ray (CXR), gastric decompression, early sedation, appropriate initial tidal volume, and quantitative capnography) on outcomes of mortality, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), ventilator days, and intensive care unit (ICU) length-of-stay (LOS).

Methods: This was an observational, retrospective study of patients intubated in the ED at a large tertiary-care teaching hospital and included patients in the ED for greater than two hours post-intubation.  We excluded them if they had incomplete data, were designated “do not resuscitate,” were managed primarily by the trauma team, or had surgery within six hours after intubation.

Results: Of 169 patients meeting criteria, 15 died and 10 developed VAP.  The mortality odds ratio (OR) in patients receiving CXR was 0.10 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.98), and 0.11 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.46) in patients receiving early sedation. The mortality OR for patients with 3 or fewer interventions was 4.25 (95% CI 1.15 to 15.75) when compared to patients with 5 or more interventions.  There was no significant relationship between VAP rate, ventilator days, or ICU LOS and any of the intervention groups.

Conclusion: The performance of a CXR and early sedation as well as performing five or more vs. three or fewer post-intubation interventions in boarding adult ED patients was associated with decreased mortality. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(6):-0]

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