The use of capnography and the availability of airway equipment on Intensive Care Units in the UK and the Republic of Ireland

Andrew P Georgiou, S Gouldson, A M Amphlett
Anaesthesia 2010, 65 (5): 462-7
At least 20% of reported major adverse airway events occur on the intensive care unit. This study surveyed 315 (96%) of all general, satellite, hepatobiliary, cardiac and neuro-intensive care units in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, finding that only 100 (32%) units always use capnography for tracheal intubation while only 80 (25%) always use capnography for continuous monitoring of patients requiring controlled ventilation. Three hundred and ten (98%) units utilise a checklist of airway equipment, 311 (99%) check its functionality on a daily basis and 296 (94%) units have access to a bronchoscope. Whilst 297 (94%) ICUs have an airway trolley, sufficient equipment for unanticipated difficult intubation was only seen on 33 (10%) of units. Guidelines addressing minimum standards for monitoring and airway safety on ICU are not being met and remain below the standard expected.

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