Introduction: Airway and breathing management play critical role in trauma resuscitation. Early identification of esophageal intubation and detection of fatal events is critical. Authors studied the utility of integration of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) during different phases of rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in trauma resuscitation.
Methods: It was prospective, randomized single-centered study conducted at the Emergency Department of a level one trauma center. Patients were divided into ultrasonography (USG) and clinical examination (CE) arm. The objectives were to study the utility of POCUS in endotracheal tube placement and confirmations and identification of potentially fatal conditions as tracheal injury, midline vessels, paratracheal hematoma, vocal cord pathology, pneumothorax, and others during RSI. Patient >1 year of age were included. Time taken for procedure, number of incorrect intubations, and pathologies detected were noted. The data were collected in Microsoft Excel spread sheets and analyzed using Stata (version 11.2, Stata Corp, Texas, U. S. A) software.
Results: One hundred and six patients were recruited. The mean time for primary survey USG versus CE arm was (20 ± 10.01 vs. 18 ± 11.03) seconds. USG detected four pneumothorax, one tracheal injury, and one paratracheal hematoma. The mean procedure time USG versus CE arm was (37.3 ± 21.92 vs. 58 ± 32.04) seconds. Eight esophageal intubations were identified in USG arm by POCUS and two in CE arm by EtCO2 values.
Conclusion: Integration of POCUS was useful in all three phases of RSI. It identified paratracheal hematoma, tracheal injury, and pneumothorax. It also identified esophageal intubation and confirmed main stem tracheal intubation in less time compared to five-point auscultation and capnography.
Keywords: Emergency department; point-of-care ultrasound; rapid sequence intubation.