Airway management at Level 1 trauma center in the era of video laryngoscopy

Jack Louro, Roman Dudaryk, Yvette Rodriguez, Richard P. Dutton, Richard Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Rapid sequence induction and tracheal intubation through direct laryngoscopy (DL) has been the most common approach to secure the airway in trauma patients. The introduction of video laryngoscopy (VL) has changed airway management in many clinical settings. In this retrospective study, we assessed if immediate availability of VL in the trauma suite has changed the approach and outcomes of airway management during acute resuscitation at a dedicated trauma center. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively collected data from emergency intubation in the 6 resuscitation bays at a high-volume, academic, Level 1 trauma center over a 42-month period following the introduction of immediately available VL in the resuscitation bay. We divided the data into 13-week bins to assess the trend in the use of VL over time. Our measured outcomes were the incidence of failed intubations requiring a surgical airway and the frequency of VL use for airway management. Results: Among 1328 airway management events in the resuscitation bays when intubation was attempted, the failure rate resulting in the placement of a surgical airway was 0.38% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12%-0.88%). This was consistent with the surgical airway rate before the introduction of VL into trauma practice (0.3%). VL use (primary or as a rescue technique) throughout the study period was 4.14% (95% CI, 2.76%-5.74%), with no temporal trend. Conclusion: The immediate availability of VL in the resuscitation bay has not changed the prevalence of its use during emergency airway management at our trauma center. DL remains a preferred primary modality for airway management by the trauma anesthesiologists working at this facility, with an acceptably low incidence of both primary failure and the need to establish a surgical airway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Critical Illness and Injury Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway management
  • laryngoscopy
  • traumatic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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