Implementation of a Clinical Bundle to Reduce Out-of-Hospital Peri-intubation Hypoxia

      Study objective

      Peri-intubation hypoxia is an important adverse event of out-of-hospital rapid sequence intubation. The aim of this project is to determine whether a clinical bundle encompassing positioning, apneic oxygenation, delayed sequence intubation, and goal-directed preoxygenation is associated with decreased peri-intubation hypoxia compared with standard out-of-hospital rapid sequence intubation.


      We conducted a retrospective, before-after study using data from a suburban emergency medical services (EMS) system in central Texas. The study population included all adults undergoing out-of-hospital intubation efforts, excluding those in cardiac arrest. The before-period intervention was standard rapid sequence intubation using apneic oxygenation at flush flow, ketamine, and a paralytic. The after-period intervention was a care bundle including patient positioning (elevated head, sniffing position), apneic oxygenation, delayed sequence intubation (administration of ketamine to facilitate patient relaxation and preoxygenation with a delayed administration of paralytics), and goal-directed preoxygenation. The primary outcome was the rate of peri-intubation hypoxia, defined as the percentage of patients with a saturation less than 90% during the intubation attempt.


      The before group (October 2, 2013, to December 13, 2015) included 104 patients and the after group (August 8, 2015, to July 14, 2017) included 87 patients. The 2 groups were similar in regard to sex, age, weight, ethnicity, rate of trauma, initial oxygen saturation, rates of initial hypoxia, peri-intubation peak SpO2, preintubation pulse rate and systolic blood pressure, peri-intubation cardiac arrest, and first-pass and overall success rates. Compared with the before group, the after group experienced less peri-intubation hypoxia (44.2% versus 3.5%; difference –40.7% [95% confidence interval –49.5% to –32.1%]) and higher peri-intubation nadir SpO2 values (100% versus 93%; difference 5% [95% confidence interval 2% to 10%]).


      In this single EMS system, a care bundle encompassing patient positioning, apneic oxygenation, delayed sequence intubation, and goal-directed preoxygenation was associated with lower rates of peri-intubation hypoxia than standard out-of-hospital rapid sequence intubation.
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