Emergency airway guideline

The adult trauma clinical practice guideline Emergency Airway Management in the Trauma Patient is one of four guidelines published by NSW ITIM. It consists of four documents:

Full report - the complete guideline including algorithms, summary, discussions, tables of evidence, appendices and references.

Summary report - contains algorithms and guidelines.

Algorithm 1 - A3 colour algorithm of standard airway management.

Algorithm 2 - A3 colour algorithm of difficult airway management.


Author: Dr. Joe Ollerton, Trauma Fellow, Liverpool Hospital

Published: January 2007

Clinical questions addressed:
  1. In the patient with potential cervical spine injury requiring emergency intubation in the resuscitation room, what is the optimal method of achieving a secure airway?
  2. In adults with severe head injury (GCS ≤ 8) undergoing emergency intubation in the emergency department (ED), what are the optimal induction agents to minimise secondary brain injury?
  3. In hypotensive trauma adults requiring emergency intubation in the ED, what is the optimal induction technique to minimise further haemodynamic instability?
  4. In the trauma adult requiring emergency control of the airway, what is the best treatment algorithm to follow for management of a 'difficult airway'?

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