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Anaesthesia. 1994 Oct;49(10):900-3.

Emergency airway management in patients with cervical spine injuries.

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Department of Anesthesia, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore 21201.


A retrospective study of admissions to a Level 1 Trauma Centre, revealed 393 patients with traumatic cervical spine injuries. All 36 patients intubated urgently and 37 and 68 patients intubated between 30 min and 24 h of admission, were intubated orally, following a rapid sequence induction with the application of cricoid pressure and manual in-line stabilisation of the head and neck. There were no neurological sequelae in these 73 patients (95% confidence interval 0-4%). This technique for airway management is described in detail. It is a safe, familiar, and effective method for securing the airway in patients with cervical spine injury.

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