UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: EMS

Title: Is prehospital intubation harmful for patients who require a resuscitative thoracotomy?

Keywords: intubation, timing, trauma arrest, prehospital (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/19/2024 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 7/14/2024)
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Several studies have shown that patients who require a resuscitative thoracotomy (RT)  have a higher odds of survival if they are transported by police or in private vehicles.  This study examined 195 patients who required RT to see if prehospital intubation and out of hospital time (OOHT) affected ROSC rates.

There was no association between OOHT and ROSC and no association of OOHT and survival.  The mean OOHT for this study was only 25 minutes which is faster than other studies.  

The odds of ROSC were lower in patients who had ANY intubation attempts prior to arrival.

Bottom line: BLS airway management (or supraglottic placement) may be more beneficial for the trauma arrest patient in the prehospital setting.


Radulovic N, Hillier M, Nisenbaum R, Turner L, Nolan B. The impact of out-of-hospital time and prehospital intubation on return of spontaneous circulation following resuscitative thoracotomy in traumatic cardiac arrest. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2023 Nov 28:1-14. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2023.2285390. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38015060.