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Resuscitation. 2007 Feb;72(2):234-9. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Does the type of out-of-hospital airway interfere with other cardiopulmonary resuscitation tasks?

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 230 McKee Place, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Out-of-hospital rescuers often perform tracheal intubation (TI) prior to other cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) interventions. TI is a complex and error-prone procedure that may interfere with other key resuscitation tasks. We compared the effects of TI versus esophageal tracheal combitube (ETC) insertion on the accomplishment of other interventions during simulated cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


In this prospective trial using a human simulator, two-paramedic teams simulated resuscitation of a ventricular fibrillation cardiopulmonary arrest using standard Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines. In each of two trials, teams used either TI or ETC as the primary airway device. Following delivery of three rescue shocks, we measured time intervals to successful airway placement, intravenous (IV) line insertion, drug administration, delivery of fourth rescue shock and completion of all four tasks. We also measured the total time without chest compressions. We compared task completion times using non-parametric statistics (Wilcoxon signed-ranks test) with a Bonferroni-adjusted p-value of 0.008.


Twenty teams each completed two scenarios. Participants required a median of 172.5 s (IQR: 146.5-225.5) to accomplish all four tasks. Elapsed time to airway placement was significantly less for ETC than TI (median difference 26.5 s (IQR 13-44.5), p=0.002). Time without chest compressions was less for ETC than TI (median difference 8.5 s (IQR 2.5-23.5), p=0.005). There were no differences between ETC and TI in times to IV placement (median difference 23.5 s (IQR -20 to 61), p=0.11), drug delivery (39.5 s (IQR -18 to 63), p=0.07), delivery of fourth rescue shock (39.5 s (IQR -21.5 to 87.5), p=0.07) or completion of all four tasks (33 s (IQR -11 to 74.5), p=0.08).


Compared with TI, ETC reduced time to airway placement and time without chest compressions, but did not affect elapsed times to accomplish other interventions. Additional time differences may be realized if translated to clinical out-of-hospital conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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