UMEM Educational Pearls

Hemodynamic instability and cardiac arrest are major complications following endotracheal intubation.  The mantra “resuscitate before you intubate” has prompted several studies of how to prevent this.

The PREPARE II trial is a multicenter ICU-based trial studying the effect of 500cc of crystalloid versus no crystalloid pre-emptively to prevent hypotension following endotracheal intubation. The study enrolled 1067 critically ill patients in United States ICUs. Some 60% of patient were intubated for respiratory failure and 20% were already on vasopressor.  The primary induction drugs we etomidate and rocuronium. Importantly, urgent intubation was an exclusion. There were no differences in multiple endpoints including hypotension, new need for vasopressors, cardiac arrest, or 28-day mortality. 

This was in some ways this in not unexpected and patients already in an ICU setting have typically received some form of fluid loading already. Being ICU based and primarily a more smoldering medical population this has limited application to more emergent and undifferentiated settings, but study underscores the need for a broad and nuanced view of what “resuscitate” means. Positive pressure may exacerbate hypovolemia, but the patient’s underlying disease, the effect of anesthetic drugs both by direct action via relief of pain, discomfort, or dyspnea may predominate if you think the patient is euvolemic.

Remember to dose anesthetics/sedatives/RSI drugs with an eye toward hemodynamics and consider starting vasopressors prior to intubation

Bottom Line:

-In a broad well-conducted ICU-based study a 500cc peri-intubation bolus doesn’t prevent hypotension

-Have a broad view of what resuscitation for intubation might entail

-Having fluid ready for intubation is helpful, hemodynamic dosing of drugs and having a plan for vasopressors might be even more helpful

-Applicability to ED environments is limited in this ICU-based trial


JAMA. 2022;328(3):270-279. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.9792