Initial ventilation through laryngeal tube instead of face mask in out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest is effective and safe

Jan Florian Heuer, Jürgen Barwing, Christoph Eich, Michael Quintel, Thomas A Crozier, Markus Roessler
European Journal of Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine 2010, 17 (1): 10-5

INTRODUCTION: Bag-valve-mask ventilation is recommended as the initial airway management option for paramedics during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, although this technique requires considerable skill and is associated with the risk of stomach insufflation, regurgitation, and aspiration. The present two-phase study investigated the efficacy and safety of the laryngeal tube (LT-D) used by paramedics as the sole technique for ventilation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

METHODS: Paramedics staffing the emergency services' ambulances were selected for the study and trained in the use of the LT-D (phase I). They were then requested to use the device in patients requiring out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation without prior bag-valve-mask ventilation. Patients were evaluated with regard to successful placement and effective ventilation using the airway. On arrival at the scene, the emergency physician replaced the LT-D with an endotracheal tube and assessed the incidence of regurgitation and injuries to the airways (phase II).

RESULTS: Forty patients were enrolled into this study. One was excluded from analysis because of protocol violation. Insertion of the LT-D was successful and ventilation was effective in 33 patients (85%). Ventilation was not possible in six patients (15%) because of cuff rupture (n = 3) or massive regurgitation and aspiration before LT-D insertion (n = 3). No patient regurgitated after tube placement. No airway injuries were observed. The participants rated ventilation using the LT-D as effective.

CONCLUSION: The LT-D is feasible and effective for airway management and ventilation when used by paramedics in out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation and can be recommended as the sole technique in such situations.

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