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Acad Emerg Med. 2000 Dec;7(12):1362-9.

A comparison of succinylcholine and rocuronium for rapid-sequence intubation of emergency department patients.

Author information

1
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA, USA. eglaurin@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare rocuronium and succinylcholine for rapid-sequence intubation (RSI) in the emergency department (ED).

METHODS:

A one-year prospective cohort comparison study was performed using a data collection form completed at the time of intubation. Data collected included the reason for the neuromuscular-blocking agent (NMBA) chosen, the time to onset of paralysis, and any complications encountered. Three ten-point numerical descriptor scales recorded the degree of body movement, vocal cord movement, and the physician's overall satisfaction with the extent of paralysis.

RESULTS:

Succinylcholine was used in 382 patients and rocuronium was used in 138 (26% of all RSI) patients. The mean (+/- SD) times of onset of succinylcholine and rocuronium were 39 +/- 13 sec and 44 +/- 20 sec, respectively (p = 0.04). No patient desaturated and required assisted ventilations while waiting for paralysis to occur. Types of body movements were similar with the two agents, but less frequent with succinylcholine (median = 10, mean = 9.5 +/- 1.1) than rocuronium (median = 10, mean = 9.1 +/- 1. 5) (p = 0.01). Vocal cord movements were similar for succinylcholine (median = 10, mean = 9.2 +/- 1.6) and rocuronium (median = 9, mean = 9.0 +/- 1.6) (p = 0.15). The physician's overall satisfaction with the extent of paralysis was also higher for succinylcholine (median = 10, mean = 9.4 +/- 1.3) than rocuronium (median = 10, mean = 8.8 +/- 2.0) (p < 0.01). Only one complication, widening of the QRS complex secondary to succinylcholine use in a patient with unsuspected hyperkalemia, could be attributed to the choice of NMBA.

CONCLUSIONS:

Both succinylcholine and rocuronium produced fast and reliable paralysis for RSI. Although succinylcholine had a faster onset and provided more relaxation, the difference had no clinical significance. Approximately a fourth of ED RSI patients qualified for use of rocuronium using these high-risk criteria.

PMID:
11099426
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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