Increased mortality in trauma patients who develop postintubation hypotension

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2017 Oct;83(4):569-574. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001561.


Background: Postintubation hypotension (PIH) is common and associated with poor outcomes in critically ill patient populations requiring emergency endotracheal intubation (ETI). The importance of PIH in the trauma population remains unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of PIH in trauma patients and assess the association of PIH with patient outcomes.

Methods: Retrospective case series of adult (≥16 years) patients who were intubated on arrival at a tertiary trauma center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, between 2000 and 2015. Data were collected from the Nova Scotia Trauma Registry and patient chart, and included demographics, comorbidities, trauma characteristics, intubation time, as well as all fluids, medications, adverse events, interventions, and vital signs during the 15 minutes before/after ETI. We evaluated the prevalence of PIH and created a logistic regression model to determine likelihood of mortality in the PIH and non-PIH groups after controlling for patient and provider characteristics.

Results: Overall, 477 patients required ETI on assessment by the trauma service, of which 444 patients met eligibility criteria and were included in the analysis. The prevalence of PIH was 36.3% (161 of 444) in our study population. In-hospital mortality occurred in 29.8% (48 of 161) of patients in the PIH group, compared with 15.9% (45 of 283) of patients in the non-PIH group (p = 0.001). Development of PIH was associated with increased mortality in the emergency department (adjusted odds ratio, 3.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-8.36) and in-hospital (adjusted odds ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.31).

Conclusion: In our study of trauma patients requiring ETI, development of PIH was common (36.3%) and associated with increased mortality. Intubation practices in critically ill trauma patients is an important patient safety issue that requires further investigation.

Level of evidence: Prognostic and epidemiological, level III; Level IV, Therapeutic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Hypotension / mortality*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy
  • Young Adult