Emergency Department Management of Out-of-Hospital Laryngeal Tubes

Brian E Driver, Sarah K Scharber, Gabriella B Horton, Darren A Braude, Nicholas S Simpson, Robert F Reardon
Annals of Emergency Medicine 2019, 74 (3): 403-409

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Laryngeal tubes are commonly used by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel for out-of-hospital advanced airway management. The emergency department (ED) management of EMS-placed laryngeal tubes is unknown. We seek to describe ED airway management techniques, success, and complications of patients receiving EMS laryngeal tubes.

METHODS: Using a keyword text search of ED notes, we identified patients who arrived at our ED with a laryngeal tube from 2010 through 2017. We performed structured chart and video reviews for all eligible patients. In our ED, emergency physicians perform all airway management, and there is no protocol dictating airway management for patients arriving with a laryngeal tube. Using descriptive methods, we report the techniques, success, and complications of ED airway management.

RESULTS: We analyzed data on 647 patients receiving out-of-hospital laryngeal tubes, including 472 (73%) with cardiac arrest from medical causes, 75 (21%) with cardiac arrest from trauma, and 100 (15%) with other conditions. For 580 patients (89%), emergency physicians exchanged the laryngeal tube for a definitive airway in the ED. Of the 67 patients not intubated in the ED, 66 died in the ED without further airway management. Of the 580 patients intubated in the ED, orotracheal intubation was the first method attempted for 578 (>99%) and was successful on the first attempt for 515 of 578 (89%). Macintosh video laryngoscopy (88% of initial attempts) and a bougie (68% of initial attempts) were commonly used adjuncts. For 345 of 578 patients (60%), the laryngeal tube was removed before intubation attempts. For 112 of 578 patients (19%), the first intubation attempt occurred with the deflated laryngeal tube left in place. Three patients (<1%) required a surgical airway.

CONCLUSION: In this cohort, emergency physicians successfully exchanged an out-of-hospital laryngeal tube for an endotracheal tube, using commonly available airway management techniques. ED clinicians should be familiar with techniques for exchanging out-of-hospital extraglottic airways for an endotracheal tube.


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