Trauma airway management

J Emerg Med. 2014 Jun;46(6):814-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.11.085. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


Background: Airway management in a trauma patient can be particularly challenging when both a difficult airway and the need for rapid action collide. The provider must evaluate the trauma patient for airway difficulty, develop an airway management plan, and be willing to act quickly with incomplete information.

Discussion: Thorough knowledge of airway management algorithms will assist the emergency physician in providing optimal care and offer a rapid and effective treatment plan.

Conclusions: Using a case-based approach, this article reviews initial trauma airway management strategies along with the rationale for evidence-based treatments.

Keywords: airway; intubation; tracheal injury; tracheobroncheal injury; trauma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Bronchi / injuries*
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Lacerations / complications
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / injuries
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Neck Injuries / diagnosis
  • Radiography
  • Scalp / injuries
  • Trachea / injuries*