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Introduction of the i-gel supraglottic airway device for prehospital airway management in a UK ambulance service
  1. Jay Duckett,
  2. P Fell,
  3. K Han,
  4. C Kimber,
  5. C Taylor
  1. Department of Clinical Care and Patient Safety, North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Jay Duckett, Department of Clinical Care and Patient Safety, North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Bernicia House, Goldcrest Way, Newburn Riverside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE15 8NY, UK; jay.duckett{at}, jayduckett{at}


Aim To clinically review the use of basic and advanced airway management techniques within the North East Ambulance Service National Health Service Foundation Trust (NEAS) for cardiac arrests following the introduction of the i-gel.

Method Two retrospective clinical audits were carried out over a monthly period (May 2011 and January 2012) using electronic and paper NEAS patient records.

Results This audit confirmed that a range of basic and/or advanced airway management techniques are being successfully used to manage the airways of cardiac arrest patients. I-gel is emerging as a popular choice for maintaining and securing the airway during prehospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Success rates for i-gel insertion are higher (94%, 92%) than endotracheal (ET) tube insertion (90%, 86%). Documentation of the airway management method was poor in 11% of the records. The Quality Improvement Officers addressed this by providing individual feedback.

Conclusions I-gel shows a higher success rate in cardiac arrest patients compared to the ET tube. Staff who chose to use methods other than i-gel indicated this was a confidence issue when using new equipment. The re-audit indicated an upward trend in the popularity of i-gel; insertion is faster with a higher success rate, which allows the crew to progress with the other resuscitation measures more promptly. Airway soiling and aspiration beforehand have been reasons staff resort to ET intubation. It is anticipated by the authors that i-gel will emerge as the first choice of airway management device in prehospital cardiac arrests.

  • airway
  • cardiac arrest
  • paramedics, clinical management
  • prehospital care
  • equipment evaluation

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