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The key to advanced airways during cardiac arrest: well trained and early

Peter T Morley
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2012 January 11, 16 (1): 104
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Airway management during cardiac arrests is a controversial area. There are advantages to the provision of a patent airway with an airway adjunct, especially as this can optimize oxygenation and carbon dioxide clearance as well as facilitate continuous compressions. These advantages come at a potential cost, in particular errors in placement of the devices and interruption to compressions necessitated for insertion. The widespread availability of supraglottic airways (SGAs), their ease of insertion, and their ability to be inserted without interruptions to compressions have meant that the role of the definitive airway device - the endotracheal tube - is being challenged. In the previous issue of Critical Care, a study from Japan reported the use of advanced airways in more than 5,000 victims of cardiac arrests. The authors were not able to demonstrate a survival advantage with either SGAs or endotracheal intubation (ETI). They did, however, demonstrate improved outcomes when the emergency life-saving technicians had been trained to perform ETI and when the advanced airway device was inserted earlier.

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