Prehospital and resuscitative airway care: should the gold standard be reassessed?

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2001 Dec;7(6):413-21. doi: 10.1097/00075198-200112000-00008.


In the context of prehospital care and resuscitation, tracheal intubation has been regarded as the standard in airway treatment. The evidence for this status is rather weak. It does not take into account the level of training and experience of the personnel attempting intubation, and whether they use neuromuscular blockers. In unskilled hands, attempted tracheal intubation is harmful; unrecognized esophageal intubation is disastrous. When healthcare providers lack adequate skills in tracheal intubation, alternative airway devices, such as the laryngeal mask airway or the Combitube, may be better options than a simple facemask. Healthcare personnel using any of these devices should be adequately trained and maintain frequent practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / education
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Intubation, Intratracheal* / adverse effects
  • Intubation, Intratracheal* / methods
  • Intubation, Intratracheal* / statistics & numerical data
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents / administration & dosage
  • Resuscitation / instrumentation
  • Resuscitation / methods*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents