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Open Access Soiled airway tracheal intubation and the effectiveness of decontamination by paramedics (SATIATED): a randomised controlled manikin study

Introduction: Vomiting and regurgitation are commonly encountered in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), with a reported incidence of 20‐30%. This is of concern since patients who have suffered an OHCA are already in extremis. If standard suctioning techniques are not sufficient to maintain a clear airway and provide ventilation, then these patients will die, irrespective of the quality of chest compressions and the timeliness of defibrillation. This study aimed to determine whether a short teaching session of the suction assisted laryngoscopy and airway decontamination (SALAD) technique improved paramedics’ ability to successfully intubate a contaminated airway.

Methods: A modified airway manikin with the oesophagus connected to a reservoir of ‘vomit’, and a bilge pump capable of propelling the vomit up into the oropharynx, was used to simulate a soiled airway. The intervention consisted of a brief SALAD training session with a demonstration and opportunity to practice. Participants were randomly allocated into two groups: AAB, who made two pre-training intubation attempts and one post-training attempt, and ABB, who made one pre-training and two post-training attempts, to adjust for improvement in performance due to repetition.

Results: In this manikin study, following a brief SALAD training session, more paramedics were able to intubate a soiled airway on their first attempt, compared to those without training (90.2% vs. 53.7%, difference of 36.6%, 95% CI 24‐49.1%, p < 0.001). In addition, the mean difference in time taken to perform a successful intubation between groups was statistically significant for attempts 1 and 2 (mean difference 11.71 seconds, 95% CI 1.95‐21.47 seconds, p = 0.02), but not attempts 1 and 3 (mean difference ‐2.52 seconds, 95% CI ‐11.64‐6.61 seconds, p = 0.58). This result is likely to be confounded by the use of tracheal suction, which only occurred in the post-training attempts and added additional time to the intubation attempts. There was no statistically significant difference in success rates on the third attempt between AAB and ABB (89.0% vs. 86.6%, difference 2.4%, 95% CI 7.6‐12.4%, p = 0.63).

Conclusion: In this study, the use of the SALAD technique significantly improved first attempt success rates when paramedics were intubating a simulated soiled airway.

Keywords: airway obstruction; emergency medical services; intubation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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