A Retrospective Analysis of Neuromuscular Blocking Drug Use and Ventilation Technique on Complications in the Pediatric Difficult Intubation Registry Using Propensity Score Matching

Annery G. Garcia-Marcinkiewicz*, H. Daniel Adams, Harshad Gurnaney, Vikram Patel, Narasimhan Jagannathan, Nicholas Burjek, Janell L. Mensinger, Bingqing Zhang, Kenneth N. Peeples, Pete G. Kovatsis, John E. Fiadjoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Ventilation is critical in airway management, and failure can be fatal. The optimal ventilation approach for endotracheal intubation in children with difficult airways remains controversial. The Pediatric Difficult Intubation (PeDI) Registry is an international multicenter registry that collects intubation data in difficult to intubate children. The registry captures the initial (at induction) and final ventilation technique (at intubation), the use of neuromuscular blocking drugs (NMBDs), airway reactivity during intubation, and complications. We analyzed data in the PeDI Registry to determine the frequency of use of various ventilation techniques and associated complications. Because spontaneously breathing patients ventilate throughout intubation, we hypothesized that spontaneous ventilation would be associated with fewer complications than other approaches. METHODS: We queried the PeDI Registry for cases entered between September 2012 and February 2016, from 16 children's hospitals. We categorized the attending anesthesiologist's ventilation plan into 3 groups: spontaneous ventilation, controlled ventilation after administering an NMBD, and controlled ventilation without administering an NMBD. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) model, with a binomial family distribution and logit link, was used to determine the association between ventilation technique and the risk of complications, as well as to account for within-site clustering. Propensity score matching was further applied to balance pretreatment characteristics of ventilation groups. RESULTS: Of 1289 anticipated difficult intubations, 507 (39%) were managed with spontaneous ventilation, 453 (35%) controlled ventilation with an NMBD, and 329 (26%) controlled ventilation without an NMBD. Complications occurred in 242 (18.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 16.6%-20.9%) patients. Of these, 218 (16.9%) were nonsevere, and 24 (1.9%) were severe. The spontaneous ventilation group had 114 (22.5%, standardized residual [Std.Res] = 4.29) nonsevere complications, which was higher than the controlled ventilation with an NMBD 60 (13.3%, Std.Res = -2.58), and controlled ventilation without an NMBD 44 (13.4%, Std.Res = -1.98), P <.001. Nearest neighbor matching with caliper width equal to 0.2 of the standard deviation (SD) of the logit of the propensity score also demonstrated that patients with spontaneous ventilation had greater odds of complications compared to controlled ventilation techniques: odds ratio (OR) = 2.07 (95% CI, 1.36-3.15; P =.001). CONCLUSIONS: Spontaneous ventilation is associated with more nonsevere complications, such as hypoxemia and laryngospasm, than controlled ventilation techniques during intubation of children with difficult airways. Inadequate anesthetic depth may contribute to increased complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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