The relationship between out-of-hospital airway management and outcome among trauma patients with Glasgow Coma Scale Scores of 8 or less

Prehosp Emerg Care. Apr-Jun 2011;15(2):184-92. doi: 10.3109/10903127.2010.545473. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Background: Airway management remains a fundamental component of optimal care of the severely injured patient, with endotracheal intubation representing the definitive strategy for airway control. However, multiple studies document an association between out-of-hospital intubation and increased mortality for severe traumatic brain injury.

Objectives: To explore the relationship between out-of-hospital intubation attempts and outcome among trauma patients with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores ≤ 8 across sites participating in the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC).

Methods: The ROC Epistry-Trauma, an epidemiologic database of prehospital encounters with critically injured trauma victims, was used to identify emergency medical services (EMS)-treated patients with GCS scores ≤ 8. Multiple logistic regression was used to explore the association between intubation attempts and vital status at discharge, adjusting for the following covariates: age, gender, GCS score, hypotension, mechanism of injury, and ROC site. Sites were then stratified by frequency of intubation attempts and chi-square test for trend was used to associate the frequency of intubation attempts with outcome.

Results: A total of 1,555 patients were included in this analysis; intubation was attempted in 758 of these. Patients in whom intubation was attempted had higher mortality (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.13-3.98, p < 0.01). However, sites with higher rates of attempted intubation had lower mortality across all trauma victims with GCS scores ≤ 8 (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.15-1.72, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Patients in whom intubation is attempted have higher adjusted mortality. However, sites with a higher rate of attempted intubation have lower adjusted mortality across the entire cohort of trauma patients with GCS scores ≤ 8. Coma Scale score.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Management / methods*
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States