Cluster cross-over randomised trial of paediatric airway management devices in the simulation lab and operating room among paramedic students

Matthew Lee Hansen, Adam Wagner, Ashley Schnapp, Amber Lin, Nancy Le, Sarah Deverman, Elizabeth Pedigo, Andrea Johnson, Jordan Cusick, Heike Gries, Meredith Kato
Emergency Medicine Journal: EMJ 2020 October 12

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to compare paediatric emergency airway management strategies in the simulation lab and operating room environments.

METHODS: This was a two-part cluster cross-over randomised trial including simulation lab and operating room environments conducted between January 2017 and June 2018 in Portland, Oregon, USA. In simulated infant cardiac arrests, paramedic students placed an endotracheal tube, an i-gel or a laryngeal mask airway in random order. In the operating room, paramedic students placed a laryngeal mask airway or i-gel device in random order in sequential patients. The primary outcome for both portions of the study was time to ventilation. In the operating room portion, we also evaluated leak pressures and average initial tidal volumes.

RESULTS: There were 58 paramedic students who participated in the simulation lab and 22 who participated in the operating room study. The mean time to airway placement in the simulation lab was 48.5 s for the i-gel, 68.9 s for the laryngeal mask and 129.5 s for the endotracheal tube. In the operating room, mean time to i-gel placement was 34.3 s with 45.2 s for the laryngeal mask. In multivariable analysis of the simulation study, the laryngeal mask and i-gel were significantly faster than the endotracheal tube, and the i-gel was faster than the laryngeal mask. In the operating room, there was no significant difference in time to placement, leak pressure and average volume of the first five breaths between the i-gel and laryngeal mask.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that paramedic students were able to place supraglottic devices rapidly with high success rates in simulation lab and operating room environments. Supraglottic devices, particularly the i-gel, were rated as easy to use. The i-gel may be easiest to use since it lacks an inflable cuff and requires fewer steps to place.

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