Background: The equipment carried in rescue helicopters concerning airway management is not standardized in Germany. The current DIN/EN equipment regulations are not detailed for every single item resulting in differences between the various rescue bases. The aim of this survey was to show existing differences in airway management equipment.
Methods: All 72 German air rescue helicopters listed in the ADAC air rescue stations atlas 2006/2007 received a questionnaire.
Results: A total of 64 bases returned the questionnaire (88.9%). The most frequent types of supraglottic airway equipment were laryngeal masks (67.2%), Combitubes (32.8%) and laryngeal tubes (29.7%). Cricothyrotomy sets were more frequent (68.8%) than tracheostomy sets (35.9%). Of the bases 18.8% had masks suitable for non-invasive ventilation (NIV). All helicopters were equipped to carry out capnometry.
Conclusions: The rescue helicopters were found to have differences with respect to the equipment carried for airway management. Medical treatment according to current guidelines is possible on almost all bases.