Society of Critical Care Medicine Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rapid Sequence Intubation in the Critically Ill Adult Patient

Nicole M. Acquisto*, Jarrod M. Mosier, Edward A. Bittner, Asad E. Patanwala, Karen G. Hirsch, Pamela Hargwood, John M. Oropello, Ryan P. Bodkin, Christine M. Groth, Kevin A. Kaucher, Angela A. Slampak-Cindric, Edward M. Manno, Stephen A. Mayer, Lars Kristofer N. Peterson, Jeremy Fulmer, Christopher Galton, Thomas P. Bleck, Karin Chase, Alan C. Heffner, Kyle J. GunnersonBryan Boling, Michael J. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


RATIONALE: Controversies and practice variations exist related to the pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic management of the airway during rapid sequence intubation (RSI). OBJECTIVES: To develop evidence-based recommendations on pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic topics related to RSI. DESIGN: A guideline panel of 20 Society of Critical Care Medicine members with experience with RSI and emergency airway management met virtually at least monthly from the panel's inception in 2018 through 2020 and face-to-face at the 2020 Critical Care Congress. The guideline panel included pharmacists, physicians, a nurse practitioner, and a respiratory therapist with experience in emergency medicine, critical care medicine, anesthesiology, and prehospital medicine; consultation with a methodologist and librarian was available. A formal conflict of interest policy was followed and enforced throughout the guidelines-development process. METHODS: Panelists created Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome (PICO) questions and voted to select the most clinically relevant questions for inclusion in the guideline. Each question was assigned to a pair of panelists, who refined the PICO wording and reviewed the best available evidence using predetermined search terms. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations (GRADE) framework was used throughout and recommendations of "strong" or "conditional" were made for each PICO question based on quality of evidence and panel consensus. Recommendations were provided when evidence was actionable; suggestions, when evidence was equivocal; and best practice statements, when the benefits of the intervention outweighed the risks, but direct evidence to support the intervention did not exist. RESULTS: From the original 35 proposed PICO questions, 10 were selected. The RSI guideline panel issued one recommendation (strong, low-quality evidence), seven suggestions (all conditional recommendations with moderate-, low-, or very low-quality evidence), and two best practice statements. The panel made two suggestions for a single PICO question and did not make any suggestions for one PICO question due to lack of evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Using GRADE principles, the interdisciplinary panel found substantial agreement with respect to the evidence supporting recommendations for RSI. The panel also identified literature gaps that might be addressed by future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1430
Number of pages20
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • etomidate
  • hypnotics and sedatives
  • intratracheal
  • intubation
  • ketamine
  • neuromuscular-blocking agents
  • propofol
  • rapid sequence induction and intubation
  • rocuronium
  • succinylcholine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Society of Critical Care Medicine Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rapid Sequence Intubation in the Critically Ill Adult Patient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this