Success of Pediatric Intubations Performed by a Critical Care Transport Service

Sriram Ramgopal*, Sean E. Button, Sylvia Owusu-Ansah, Mioara D. Manole, Richard A. Saladino, Francis X. Guyette, Christian Martin-Gill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Prehospital pediatric endotracheal intubation (ETI) is rarely performed. Previous research has suggested that pediatric prehospital ETI, when performed by ground advanced life support crews, is associated with poor outcomes. In this study, we aim to evaluate the first-attempt success rate, overall success rate and complications of pediatric prehospital ETI performed by critical care transport (CCT) personnel. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study in a multi-state CCT service performing rotor wing, ground, and fixed wing missions. We included pediatric patients (<18 years) for whom ETI was performed by CCT personnel (flight nurse or flight paramedic). Our primary outcome of interest was rate of first-attempt ETI. Secondary outcomes were overall rates of successful ETI, complications encountered, and outcomes of patients with unsuccessful intubation. Results: 993 patients were included (63.2% male, median age 12 years, IQR 4–16 years). 807/993 (81.3%) patients were intubated on the first attempt. Lower rates of successful first-attempt intubation were seen in younger ages (42.9% in infants ≤30 days of age). In multivariable logistic regression, lower odds (adjusted odds ratio, 95% confidence interval) of successful first-attempt ETI were associated with ages >30 days to <1 year (0.33, 0.18-0.61) and 2 to <6 years (0.60, 0.39–0.94) compared to patients 12 to <18 years. Patients given an induction agent and neuromuscular blockade (NMB) had a higher odds of first-attempt ETI success (1.53, 1.06–2.15). 13 (1.3%) had immediately recognized esophageal intubation and 33 (3.3%) had vomiting. No episodes of pneumothorax were reported. 962/993 (96.9%) patients were successfully intubated after all attempts. In patients without successful ETI (n = 31), supraglottic airways were used in 24, bag-valve mask ventilation in 5, and surgical cricothyroidotomy in 2, with an overall advanced airway success rate of 988/993 (99.5%). Conclusion: Critical care flight nurses and paramedics performed successful intubations in pediatric patients at a high rate of success. Younger age was associated with lower success rates. Improved ETI training for younger patients and use of an induction agent and NMB may improve airway management in critically ill children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-692
Number of pages10
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020


  • endotracheal intubation
  • flight medicine
  • intubation
  • pediatric
  • prehospital medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Success of Pediatric Intubations Performed by a Critical Care Transport Service'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this