JOURNAL ARTICLE

The association of rocuronium dosing and first-attempt intubation success in adult emergency department patients

Nicholas M Levin, Megan L Fix, Michael D April, Allyson A Arana, Calvin A Brown
CJEM 2021 April 10
33837951

BACKGROUND: The recommended rocuronium dose for rapid sequence intubation is 1.0 mg/kg; however, the optimal dose for emergency airway management is not clear. We assessed the relationship between rocuronium dose and first-attempt success among emergency department (ED) patients undergoing rapid sequence intubation.

METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of the National Emergency Airway Registry (NEAR), an observational 25-center registry of ED intubations. Ninety percent recording compliance was required from each site for data inclusion. We included all patients > 14 years of age who received rocuronium for rapid sequence intubation from 1 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2018. We compared first-attempt success between encounters using alternative rocuronium doses (< 1.0, 1.0-1.1, 1.2-1.3 and ≥1.4 mg/kg). We performed logistic regressions to control for predictors of difficult airways, indication, pre-intubation hemodynamics, operator, body habitus and device. We also performed subgroup analyses stratified by device (direct vs. video laryngoscopy). We calculated univariate descriptive statistics and odds ratios (OR) from multivariable logistic regressions with cluster-adjusted 95% confidence intervals (CI).

RESULTS: 19,071 encounters were recorded during the 3-year period. Of these, 8,034 utilized rocuronium for rapid sequence intubation. Overall, first attempt success was 88.4% for < 1.0 mg/kg, 88.1% for 1.0-1.1 mg/kg, 89.7% for 1.2-1.3 mg/kg, and 92.2% for ≥1.4 mg/kg. Logistic regression demonstrated that when direct laryngoscopy was used and when compared to the standard dosing range of 1.0-1.1 mg/kg, the adjusted odds of a first attempt success was significantly higher in ≥1.4 mg/kg group at 1.9 (95% CI 1.3-2.7) relative to the other dosing ranges, OR 0.9 (95% CI 0.7-1.2) for < 1.0 mg/kg and OR 1.2 (95% CI 0.9-1.7) for the 1.2-1.3 mg/kg group. First-attempt success was similar across all rocuronium doses among patients utilizing video laryngoscopy. Patients who were hypotensive (SBP < 100 mmHg) prior to intubation had higher first-attempt success 94.9% versus 88.6% when higher doses of rocuronium were used. The rates of all peri-intubation adverse events and desaturation were similar between dosing groups, laryngoscope type utilized and varying pre-intubation hemodynamics.

CONCLUSIONS: Rocuronium dosed ≥1.4 mg/kg was associated with higher first attempt success when using direct laryngoscopy and among patients with pre-intubation hypotension with no increase in adverse events. We recommend further prospective evaluation of the dosing of rocuronium prior to offering definitive clinical guidance.

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