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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2016 Feb;34(1):97-127. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2015.08.007.

Airway Management of Respiratory Failure.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Mail Stop B215, Leprino Building 12401, East 17th Avenue Room 712, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Electronic address:


Patients in respiratory distress often require airway management, including endotracheal intubation. It takes a methodical approach to transition from an unstable patient in distress with an unsecured airway, to a stable, sedated patient with a definitive airway. Through a deliberate course of advanced preparation, the emergency physician can tailor the approach to the individual clinical situation and optimize the chance of first-pass success. Sedation of the intubated patient confers physiologic benefits and should be included in the plan for airway control.


Airway management; Apneic oxygenation; Difficult airway; Preoxygenation; Rapid sequence intubation; Respiratory failure; Sedation

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