Frequency and Characterization of Tracheal Intubation Adverse Events in Pediatric Sepsis

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Abstract

Objectives:

Intubation in critically ill pediatric patients is associated with approximately 20% rate of adverse events, but rates in the high-risk condition of sepsis are unknown. Our objectives were to describe the frequency and characteristics of tracheal intubation adverse events in pediatric sepsis.

Design:

Retrospective cohort study of a sepsis registry.

Setting:

Two tertiary care academic emergency departments and four affiliated urgent cares within a single children’s hospital health system.

Patients:

Children 60 days and older to 18 years and younger who required nonelective intubation within 24 hours of emergency department arrival. Exclusion criteria included elective intubation, intubation prior to emergency department arrival, presence of tracheostomy, or missing intubation chart data.

Interventions:

Not applicable.

Measurements and Main Results:

The outcome was tracheal intubation adverse event as defined by the National Emergency Airway Registry Tool 4 KIDS. During the study period, 118 of 2,395 registry patients met inclusion criteria; 100% of intubations were successful. First attempt success rate was 57% (95% CI, 48–65%); 59% were intubated in the emergency department, and 28% were intubated in the PICU. First attempts were by a resident (30%), a fellow (42%), attending (6%), and anesthesiologist (13%). Tracheal intubation adverse events were reported in 61 (43%; 95% 43–61%) intubations with severe tracheal intubation adverse events in 22 (17%; 95 CI, 13–27%) intubations. Hypotension was the most common severe event (n = 20 [17%]) with 14 novel occurrences during intubation. Mainstem bronchial intubation was the most common nonsevere event (n = 28 [24%]). Residents, advanced practice providers, and general pediatricians in urgent care settings had the lowest rates of first-pass success.

Conclusions:

The rates of tracheal intubation adverse events in this study are higher than in nonelective pediatric intubations in all conditions and highlight the high-risk nature of intubations in pediatric sepsis. Further research is needed to identify optimal practices for intubation in pediatric sepsis.

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