EM trainee RSI experience

A single centre observational study of rapid sequence intubation (RSI) was performed in a Scottish Emergency Department (ED) over four and a quarter years, followed by a postal survey of ED RSI operators.

There were 329 RSIs during the study period. RSI was performed by emergency physicians (both trained specialists and training grade, or ‘registrar’ doctors) in 288 (88%) patients. Complication rates were low and there were only two failed intubations requiring surgical airways (0.6%). ED registrars were the predominant RSI operator, with 206 patients (63%). ED consultants performed RSIs on 82 (25%) patients, anaesthetic registrars on 31 (9.4%) patients, and anaesthetic consultants on 8 (2.4%) patients. An ED consultant was present during every RSI performed and an anaesthetist was present during 72 (22%). The average number of ED registrars during this period of training was 8. This equates to each ED trainee performing approximately 26 ED RSIs (6.5 RSIs/year). On average, ED consultants performed 14 RSIs during this period (approx 3.5 RSIs/year). Of the 17 questionnaires, 12 were completed, in all of which cases the trainees were confident to perform RSI independently at the end of registrar training. Interestingly, 45 (14%) of the RSIs in the study were done in the pre-hospital environment by ED staff, two thirds of which were done by ED consultants.

Training and competency in rapid sequence intubation: the perspective from a Scottish teaching hospital emergency department
Emerg Med J. 2010 Sep 15. [Epub ahead of print]

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