Prevalence and outcomes of endotracheal intubation–related cardiac arrest in the ED

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Background:Emergency endotracheal intubation–related cardiac arrest (CA) is not well documented. This study compares the clinical features and outcomes of intubation-related CA and other causes of inhospital CA.Methods:All study patients were consecutive adults (≥ 18 years) who developed CA in the emergency department between January 2007 and December 2011. Emergent endotracheal intubation–related CA was defined as occurring within 20 minutes after successful intubation. Clinical variables were compared between patients with intubation-related CA and intubation-unrelated CA. The primary outcome was a good neurologic outcome defined as a Cerebral Performance Category score of 1 to 2. The secondary outcome was survival to hospital discharge.Results:Of the 251 patients who developed CA, 41 were excluded due to trauma-related CA or “do-not-resuscitate” protocols, thereby leaving 210 patients. The prevalence of intubation-related CA was 23.3%, and the median duration between successful intubation and CA was 5.0 minutes (interquartile range, 2.0–9.5). Pulseless electrical activity was more commonly noted as the first arrest rhythm in the intubation-related CA group (75.5% vs 59.0%; P = .03) compared with patients with other causes of CA. However, the rates of good neurologic outcomes (14.3% vs 21.1%) and survival to discharge (34.7% vs 35.4%) were not significantly higher in intubation-related CA group (both P > .05).Conclusion:Endotracheal intubation–related CA occurred higher than commonly recognized, and patient outcomes were not better than other causes of CA. These data highlight the importance of efforts to prevent intubation-related CA. However, further prospective larger study will be required to generalize this result.

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