Objectives: Orotracheal intubation is a key component of prehospital airway management and success rates are dependent on procedural experience. Supraglottic airway devices are increasingly being used in the prehospital setting. As a result, paramedics may have fewer opportunities for performing intubation, limiting their proficiency in the procedure. We aimed to determine the trends in intubation versus supraglottic airway use over an 8 year period. We also aimed to determine the association between system-wide introduction of King LT guidelines and ETI success rates. Methods: We performed a retrospective observational study of 37 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies in a 10 county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Cases between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2012 were included if an advanced airway procedure was performed. We determined trends in advanced airway placement and compared the proportion of cases with first pass intubation success before and after the King LT was introduced and promoted by statewide protocol starting in 2007. Use of airway devices before and after King LT implementation were presented using descriptive statistics and compared using Pearson's Chi-square or Fishers Exact test as appropriate. We compared first pass success rate of orotracheal intubation between study periods using multivariable logistic regression, controlling for other factors that may impact success of orotracheal intubation (year, EMS agency, age category, traumatic injury, and cardiac arrest). Results: There were 712 cases of orotracheal intubation before and 2,835 cases after introduction of the King LT. The proportion of cases ultimately managed with orotracheal intubation before and after 2007 decreased from 72.3% (95% CI 68.9-75.6%) to 67.1% (95% CI 65.3-68.8%) (p = 0.007). In the multivariable analysis, success of orotracheal intubation was not associated with implementation of the King LT airway (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.74-1.41). Conclusion: Fewer patients with advanced airway management received orotracheal intubation since introduction of the King LT. In spite of this modest change in airway management, there has not been a change in orotracheal intubation success rate since introduction of this supraglottic device as a primary or rescue airway in this regional EMS setting.
- allied health personnel; paramedic; prehospital; emergency medical services; endotracheal intubation