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Air Med J. 2018 Jan - Feb;37(1):51-53. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Cricothyrotomy in Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Transport.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN. Electronic address: kevin.high@vanderbilt.edu.
2
Department of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Airway management is a requisite skill set for helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) providers. Cricothyrotomy is a potentially lifesaving skill that is used when other airway maneuvers fail. The authors reviewed all transports by a helicopter program in which cricothyrotomy was performed to assess the frequency, success, and technique.

METHODS:

This was a retrospective chart review of air medical patient records from an electronic medical record system over a 112-month period.

RESULTS:

During the study period, 22,434 patients were transported, 13 (.057%) of whom underwent cricothyrotomy. The typical patient was a male trauma victim with a mean Glasgow Coma Score of 5 transported from an accident scene with a mean age of 34.3 years. Six (46%) of the patients were alive at 24 hours. All patients (13/100%) received attempted endotracheal intubation; the mean number of attempts per patient was 2. The success rate was 100% with all patients ventilated via cricothyrotomy.

CONCLUSION:

This study shows cricothyrotomy is a rarely performed skill but that HEMS providers are able to successfully learn the skill with proper training and oversight.

PMID:
29332778
DOI:
10.1016/j.amj.2017.10.004

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