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Characteristics, physiology and mortality of intubated patients in an emergency care population in sub-Saharan Africa: a prospective cohort study from Kigali, Rwanda
  1. Gabin Mbanjumucyo1,
  2. Adam Aluisio2,
  3. Giles N Cattermole3
  1. 1 Emergency medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali, Kigali, Rwanda
  2. 2 Emergency medicine, Brown University Alpert Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  3. 3 Emergency Department, Princess Royal University Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gabin Mbanjumucyo, Emergency medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali, 655, Kigali, Rwanda; mgabin5{at}


Background Formalised emergency departments (ED) are in early development in sub-Saharan Africa and there are limited data on emergency airway management in those settings. This study evaluates characteristics and outcomes of ED endotracheal intubation, as well as risk factors for mortality, at a teaching hospital in Rwanda.

Methods This was a prospective observational study of consecutive patients requiring endotracheal intubation at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali ED conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2017. A standardised data collection tool was used to record patient demographics, preintubation clinical presentation, indication for intubation, vital signs. medications and equipment used, and periintubation complications. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Univariate associations were determined for risks of mortality.

Results Of 198 intubations were analysed, 72.7% were male and the median age was 35 years (IQR 23–51). Airway protection was the most common indication for intubation (73.7%). Rapid sequence intubation was performed in 74.2% of cases; sedative-only facilitated intubation in 20.6% and non-drug assisted in 5.2%. The most common agents used were Ketamine for sedation (85.4%) and vecuronium for paralysis (65.7%). All patients were successfully intubated within three attempts, 85.4% on the first attempt. During intubation, 23.1% of patients experienced hypoxia, 6.7% aspiration and 3.6% cardiac arrest. Median ED length of stay was 2 days. Outcome data were available for 164 patients of whom 67.7% died. Bonferroni-corrected univariate analysis demonstrated that mortality was associated with higher postintubation shock index (p=0.0007) and lower postintubation systolic blood pressure (SBP) (p=0.0006).

Conclusion The first-attempt and overall success rates for intubation in this ED in Rwanda were comparable to those in high-income countries (HIC). Mortality postintubation is associated with lower postintubation SBP and higher postintubation shock index. The high complication and mortality rates suggest the need for better resources and training to address differences in compared with HIC.

  • airway
  • emergency departments

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  • Handling editor Ellen J Weber

  • Twitter @gilesmole

  • Contributors GM: first author. Primary researcher, involved in data collection, and writing up the manuscript. AA: second author, helped in data analysis and editing. GNC: superviser-data analysis and editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the UTHK ethics committee EC/CHUK/222/2016 and University of Rwanda Ethics Committee No 414/CMHS IRB/2016.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.