Prehospital anaesthesia performed in a rural and suburban air ambulance service staffed by a physician and paramedic: a 16-month review of practice
- Correspondence to Dr Adam Chesters, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Marshall's Cambridge Airport, Cambridge, CRB 8RX UK;
- Received 7 August 2012
- Revised 22 November 2012
- Accepted 26 November 2012
- Published Online First 23 January 2013
Introduction This paper describes the first 16-months experience of prehospital rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in a rural and suburban helicopter-based doctor-paramedic service after the introduction of a standard operating procedure (SOP) already proven in an urban trauma environment.
Method A retrospective database review of all missions between October 2010 and January 2012 was carried out. Any RSI or intubation carried out was included, regardless of age or indication. Patients who were intubated by Ambulance Service personnel prior to the arrival of the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) team were excluded.
Results The team was activated 1156 times and attended 763 cases. A total of 88 RSIs occurring within the study period were identified as having been carried out by the EAAA team and meeting inclusion criteria for review. There were no failed intubations that required a rescue surgical airway or the placement of a supraglottic airway device. For road traffic collisions (RTCs), the overall on-scene time for patients who required an RSI was 40 min (range 15–72 min). For all other trauma, the average on-scene time was 48 min (range 25–77 min), and for medical patients, the average time spent at scene was 41 min (range 15–94 min).
Conclusions We have demonstrated the successful introduction of a prehospital care SOP, already tested in the urban trauma environment, to a rural and suburban air ambulance service operating a fulltime doctor-paramedic model. We have shown a zero failed intubation rate over 16 months of practice during which time over 750 missions were flown, with 11.5% of these resulting in an RSI.