Objective: To determine if premedication and training level affect the success rates of neonatal intubations.
Study design: We retrospectively reviewed a hospital-approved neonatal intubation database from 2003 to 2010. Intubation success rate was defined as the number of successful intubations divided by the total number of attempts, and then compared by trainee's experience level and the use of premedication. Premedication regimen included anticholinergic, analgesic and muscle relaxant agents.
Result: There were 169 trainees who completed 1071 successful intubations with 2694 attempts. The median success rate was 36% by all trainees, and improved with training level from 29% for pediatric trainees to 50% for neonatal trainees (P<0.001). Premedication was used in 58% of intubation attempts. The median success rate was double with premedication (43% versus 22%, P<0.001).
Conclusion: Neonatal endotracheal intubation is a challenge for trainees. Intubation success rates progressively improve with experience. Premedication is associated with improved success rates for all training levels.