Objective: To summarize published data regarding the steps of rapid-sequence intubation (RSI); review premedications, induction agents, neuromuscular blockers (NMB), and studies supporting use or avoidance; and discuss the benefits and deficits of combinations of induction agents and NMBs used when drug shortages occur.
Data source: A search of Medline databases (1966-October 2013) was conducted.
Study selection and data extraction: Databases were searched using the terms rapid-sequence intubation, fentanyl, midazolam, atropine, lidocaine, phenylephrine, ketamine, propofol, etomidate thiopental, succinylcholine, vecuronium, atracurium, and rocuronium. Citations from publications were reviewed for additional references.
Data synthesis: Data were reviewed to support the use or avoidance of premedications, induction agents, and paralytics and combinations to consider when drug shortages occur.
Conclusions: RSI is used to secure a definitive airway in often uncooperative, nonfasted, unstable, and/or critically ill patients. Choosing the appropriate premedication, induction drug, and paralytic will maximize the success of tracheal intubation and minimize complications.
Keywords: etomidate; induction agents; ketamine; neuromuscular blockers; premedications; propofol; rapid-sequence intubation.