Background: Respiratory care practitioners (RCPs) serve as the primary providers of neonatal endotracheal intubation (ETI) in our institution. ETIs are performed by registered respiratory therapists who have completed Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Neonatal Advanced Life Support training and have successfully completed 3 intubations under the direct supervision of a senior therapist. The purpose of this study was to (1) ascertain whether RCPs can successfully provide this type of service with acceptable complications rates and (2) survey the economic impact of this practice on patient charges in our hospital.
Evaluation methods: An analysis of each intubation event in which an RCP participated was collected and compiled over a 5-month period (9-94 to 2-95). Calculations were made of the success rate and complications.
Results: A total of 38 ETIs were performed by the RCPs. Of these, 37 (97.4%) were performed with < or = 3 attempts; (73.7% with 1 attempt, 15.8% with 2 attempts, and 7.9% with 3 attempts). In only 1 event were more than 3 attempts required. There were no complications observed.
Conclusion: RCPs can successfully serve as primary providers of neonatal ETI at a Level-II nursery in a community hospital, and this practice may result in a cost reduction.