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Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2009 Sep;4(3):175-8.

Rapid sequence intubation: a review of recent evidences.

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Department of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, University of Florence, Careggi Teaching Hospital; Viale Morgagni 85, 50139, Florence, Italy.


Rapid sequence intubation is an essential bullet in the maintenance of patency of the airway during intubation in emergency. It is a valid method in all those situations where you can not determine whether the patient is fasting or not. But RSI is not applicable in all critically ill patients. The presence of severe acidosis, depletion of intravascular volume, heart failure and severe pulmonary disease may complicate the pre-induction period as the induction, leading to the onset of vasodilatation and hypotension. Another complication is represented by Hypoxemia during the manoeuvre. The algorithm of RSI consists in six steps: pre-oxygenation, premedication, myo-relaxation and induction, intubation, primary and secondary confirmation, post-intubation patient management. Propofol has replaced Thiopental as the most common intravenous ipnotic. In hypotensive patients Ketamine represents a viable alternative. Succinylcholine is the most common neuromuscular relaxant used in the RSI. The not depolarizing NMBAs are an alternative to Succinylcholine. Among these, the most important is the Rocuronium. This drug is characterized by a fairly rapid onset (1-2 min) and an intermediate half-life (45-70 min). The onset depends on the dosage used. The problem that limits the use of Rocuronium is the fact that its duration of action is much longer than that of Succinylcholine, especially when used at higher doses. This problem can be solved through the use of Sugammadex. As a muscle relaxant chelating Sugammadex antagonizes the effects induced by Rocuronium on muscle tissue and quickly resolve the blockade.

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