Rapid Sequence Intubation from the Patient's Perspective

West J Emerg Med. 2011 Nov;12(4):365-7. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2010.11.1922.


Introduction: This study assesses the efficacy of the rapid sequence intubation (RSI) protocol in preventing patient recollection of resuscitative events and patient discomfort during intubation, as subjectively determined by the patient.

Methods: This was a prospective study of all patients intubated at Los Angeles County, University of Southern California Medical Center from July 2009 to January 2010. Extubated patients were interviewed using a standard questionnaire and data collection tool.

Results: Of 211 airway codes, 201 were excluded due to death before extubation, transfer, or persistent vegetative state, leaving 10 awake, alert subjects who were interviewed regarding their recollection of the RSI and resuscitation. Five had recollection of the event. Most patients recalling RSI described the event as painful or uncomfortable despite receiving the recommended doses of sedation/induction agents.

Conclusion: In this cohort of 10 patients intubated using typical agents, 5 remembered some details of their intubation and 2 described pain that was 10/10 on a verbal pain scale. Further work is indicated to ensure that the medications used during this procedure provide the appropriate sedation and amnesia.