II. Precautions

  1. High risk procedure
  2. Must be able to completely control airway and ventilation after use

III. Indications

  1. Preparation for intubating a conscious patient

IV. Protocol

  1. Walls protocol describes all steps in Endotracheal Intubation
    1. This page focuses on pharmacologic strategies in RSI (steps 3, 4 and 7)
    2. Endotracheal Intubation Preparation describes a safety checklist for readying for intubation
    3. Endotracheal Intubation Preoxygenation describes techniques for preventing Hypoxia during intubation (including Apneic Oxygenation)
    4. Endotracheal Intubation describes techniques for maximal laryngeal visualization and Endotracheal Tube insertion and confirmation
  2. Mnemonic: 7Ps (Walls)
    1. Preparation - step 1
      1. See Endotracheal Intubation Preparation
      2. Includes SOAP-ME Mnemonic
      3. See Endotracheal Tube
        1. Includes size and length selection of Endotracheal Tubes
      4. See Direct Laryngoscope
        1. Includes sizes of Miller Blade and Macintosh Blade
      5. See Video Laryngoscope
        1. Includes Video Laryngoscopy devices such as Glidescope, C-MAC, MacGrath
    2. Preoxygenation - step 2
      1. See Endotracheal Intubation Preoxygenation (includes Apneic Oxygenation)
      2. Significantly extends duration of safe apnea during intubation
    3. Pretreatment -step 3
      1. Rarely indicated in 2013
      2. See below
    4. Paralysis with Induction - step 4
      1. See below
    5. Positioning - step 5
      1. See Endotracheal Intubation
    6. Placement with Proof - step 6
      1. See Endotracheal Intubation
    7. Postintubation Management - step 7
      1. See Endotracheal Intubation
      2. Also see post-intubation agents described below
  3. Alternatives
    1. See Extraglottic Device
      1. Includes Laryngeal Mask Airway or LMA
      2. Consider as emergency device in case of Endotracheal Intubation failure
    2. See Nasotracheal Intubation
      1. May be considered in anticipated difficult airway of a conscious patient

V. Protocol: Pretreatment - step 3 (not indicated in most cases)

  1. ABC Mnemonic (not indicated in most cases)
  2. Pretreatment (Fentanyl, Lidocaine, Atropine) is now rarely indicated (in 2013)
    1. Indications are listed below for completeness, but are not generally recommended
    2. No evidence of benefit for any of these agents
  3. Asthma or COPD
    1. Lidocaine 1.5 mg/kg (120 mg for 80 kg adult)
  4. Brain (prevention of Intracranial Pressure increase)
    1. Lidocaine 1.5 mg/kg (variable efficacy) and
    2. Fentanyl 3 mcg/kg (250 mcg for 80 kg adult) given slowly over 1-2 minutes
  5. Cardiovascular disease
    1. Fentanyl 3 mcg/kg
  6. Children under age 12 months (optional for ages 1 to 5 years)
    1. Greatest predictive factor for Bradycardia on intubation is Hypoxia
      1. Apneic Oxygenation (Nasal Cannula delivered High Flow Oxygen throughout intubation) prolongs safe intubation time (see above)
    2. Atropine 0.02 mg/kg
      1. Atropine has historically been used to prevent Bradycardia when intubating children
      2. Some experts recommend not giving Atropine routinely at any age
        1. Consider having Atropine ready at the time of intubation in case of symptomatic Bradycardia
      3. Consider performing Retinal Exam immediately after RSI with Atropine in cases of suspected non-accidental trauma
      4. Avoid Atropine to dry secretions with Ketamine (results in thicker secretions)

VI. Protocol: Paralysis with induction - step 4

  1. Sedation with paralysis (standard, recommended protocol)
    1. Can never over-dose paralytics
      1. Best to over-estimate than under-estimate dose
    2. Consider half dose of induction agents
      1. Indicated in Hypotension
  2. Sedation without paralysis (use only with caution in difficult airway)
    1. See Difficult Airway for other ways to approach a patient with risk of failed airway
    2. Precaution: May significantly handicap intubation technique
      1. Sedation without paralysis may lead to inadequate muscle relaxation for intubation
        1. Etomidate is short acting and may not allow for adequate intubation attempt without paralysis
        2. Propofol is longer acting, but risks Hypotension
      2. Risk of Emesis and aspiration
        1. Consider pretreatment with Ondansetron to suppress Gag Reflex
      3. Full dose paralytics are recommended for even the lowest GCS scores (outside of crash airway)
        1. Avoid half-dose paralytics or defasciculating dose
    3. Indications
      1. Patients who are not resisting stabilization measures and
      2. Difficult Airway (with risk of a unsupportable patient if intubation unsuccessful)
        1. Otherwise complete paralysis for 8 minutes (Succinylcholine) to 45 minutes (Rocuronium)
    4. Technique
      1. Prepare Paralytic Agent for injection (even if not immediately injected)
      2. Consider pretreatment with Ondansetron to suppress Gag Reflex
      3. Administer Sedation (e.g. Etomidate) at standard dosing
        1. Dissociative Awake Intubation with Ketamine 1-2 mg/kg
        2. Consider adding Etomidate 0.1 mg/kg to suppress Gag Reflex
    5. References
      1. Braude in Herbert (2013) EM:Rap 13(11): 14
      2. Weingart in Majoewsky (2012) EM:Rap 12(2): 8
  3. Sedation agents
    1. Etomidate 0.2 to 0.3 mg/kg (24 mg for an 80 kg adult) or
      1. Agent of choice in most cases (most hemodynamically stable agent)
      2. Preferred in Hemorrhagic CVA with increased Blood Pressure
      3. Causes adrenal suppression (which may impact survival in Sepsis)
        1. Consider Ketamine as an alternative induction agent in Sepsis
        2. Not Clinically Significant if used in single dose as induction agent for intubation
          1. McPhee (2013) Crit Care Med 41(3): 774-83 [PubMed] (or open in [QxMD Read])
        3. Avoid in Sepsis for any longer use than brief
          1. Cuthbertson (2009) Intensive Care Med 35(11): 1868-76 [PubMed] (or open in [QxMD Read])
          2. Jabre (2009) Lancet 374(9686): 293-300 [PubMed] (or open in [QxMD Read])
    2. Ketamine 1.5 mg/kg (120 mg for an 80 kg adult)
      1. Preferred agent in Asthma, Angioedema (and possibly Sepsis)
        1. Ketamine is not associated with apnea, regardless of dose
      2. Not contraindicated in Closed Head Injury (previously thought to increase Intracranial Pressure)
        1. Appears to be neuroprotective by increasing Cerebral Perfusion Pressure
        2. Does not lower Seizure threshold
      3. Consider administration with Zofran (due to associated Vomiting)
      4. Not contraindicated in Coronary Artery Disease, Congestive Heart Failure or Hypertension
      5. Avoid concurrent Atropine to dry secretions (worsens increased airway secretions by thickening them)
    3. Propofol (Diprivan)
      1. Consider for Status Epilepticus
      2. Contraindicated in hypotensive patients
    4. Thiopental (Pentothal)
      1. Older agent, rarely used in U.S. in 2013
      2. Consider for Status Epilepticus (Fast-acting anti-epileptic)
      3. Consider Increased Intracranial Pressure (Fastest lowering of ICP of any induction agent)
      4. Contraindicated in hypotensive patients or porphyria
      5. Risk of skin necrosis if infiltrates (highly alkalotic agent with pH 10)
    5. Midazolam (Versed)
      1. Considered a poor agent for RSI
      2. Rarely given at adequate doses (a typical adult dose for RSI is an astounding 8-10 mg)
      3. Could be considered in Status Epilepticus
      4. Risk of Hypotension
      5. Risk of agitation in the elderly and those with liver disease
  4. Paralysis agents
    1. Succinylcholine 1.5 mg/kg (120 mg for an 80 kg adult) or
      1. Contraindicated for Hyperkalemia risk (see Succinylcholine)
      2. Duration or paralysis: 8 minutes
      3. Wait at least one minute for defasciculation prior to intubating (risk of Emesis)
      4. Some prefer in anticipated difficult airway (due to much shorter duration)
      5. Oxygen Saturation drops more quickly with Succinylcholine due to oxygen utilization for paralysis
    2. Rocuronium 1 mg/kg (80 mg for 80 kg adult)
      1. Agent of choice in children (and in adults if Succinylcholine contraindicated)
      2. Duration of paralysis: 45 minutes
        1. Sugammadex tightly binds Rocuronium and Vecuronium to reverse paralysis (not available in U.S.)
      3. Some prefer in difficult airway due to longer duration of action
        1. Positive Pressure Ventilation may be easier with paralysis
        2. Longer duration allows for repeat attempt without re-dosing (or Vecuronium) in case of failed intubation

VII. Protocol: Post-intubation Management - step 7

IX. Resources

  1. FPnotebook: Virtually Resuscitated RSI
    1. http://www.fpnotebook.com/vr/rsi
  2. Rapid Sequence with Rocuronium and Ketamine Video (Sacchetti)
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTd7km_jnKw

X. References

  1. Majoewsky (2012) EM: RAP-C3 2(5): 3-4
  2. Levitan (2013) Practical Airway Management Course, Baltimore
  3. Walls (2012) Emergency Airway Management, 3rd Ed, Lippincott, Philadelphia, p. 24-35
  4. Walker L. A. (1993) Emerg Med Rep, 14(15):127-32 [PubMed] (or open in [QxMD Read])

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