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Authors

  1. Bauer, Kris MN, APRN-BC, CCRN, CFRN

Abstract

Trauma is the leading cause of death in the United States for those younger than 35 years and injuries sustained from trauma are a significant source of moderate to severe disability. The inability to establish, secure, or maintain a definitive airway is a major cause of preventable death and secondary injury due to inadequate oxygenation and ventilation. Prehospital airway management is an essential skill of any prehospital care provider. A critical component to providing excellent airway management is the ability of the provider to quickly establish endotracheal intubation without complications such as hypoxia, hyper/hypocapnea, or hypotension. These complications have been shown to cause increased morbidity and mortality, especially in patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. This article presents some of the challenges faced by flight nurses in the air medical environment and how Airlift Northwest has developed a structured, standardized approach to airway management both in training and it the prehospital setting. We will discuss the process improvements that lead to the implementation of video laryngoscopy as our first-line intubation tool. The ultimate goal of any air medical or prehospital emergency medical services program is to manage 100% of airways without complications, which will decrease morbidity and mortality, ultimately improving patient outcomes.