Importance: The optimal approach to airway management during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is unknown.
Objective: To determine whether a supraglottic airway device (SGA) is superior to tracheal intubation (TI) as the initial advanced airway management strategy in adults with nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Design, setting, and participants: Multicenter, cluster randomized clinical trial of paramedics from 4 ambulance services in England responding to emergencies for approximately 21 million people. Patients aged 18 years or older who had a nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and were treated by a participating paramedic were enrolled automatically under a waiver of consent between June 2015 and August 2017; follow-up ended in February 2018.
Interventions: Paramedics were randomized 1:1 to use TI (764 paramedics) or SGA (759 paramedics) as their initial advanced airway management strategy.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was modified Rankin Scale score at hospital discharge or 30 days after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, whichever occurred sooner. Modified Rankin Scale score was divided into 2 ranges: 0-3 (good outcome) or 4-6 (poor outcome; 6 = death). Secondary outcomes included ventilation success, regurgitation, and aspiration.
Results: A total of 9296 patients (4886 in the SGA group and 4410 in the TI group) were enrolled (median age, 73 years; 3373 were women [36.3%]), and the modified Rankin Scale score was known for 9289 patients. In the SGA group, 311 of 4882 patients (6.4%) had a good outcome (modified Rankin Scale score range, 0-3) vs 300 of 4407 patients (6.8%) in the TI group (adjusted risk difference [RD], -0.6% [95% CI, -1.6% to 0.4%]). Initial ventilation was successful in 4255 of 4868 patients (87.4%) in the SGA group compared with 3473 of 4397 patients (79.0%) in the TI group (adjusted RD, 8.3% [95% CI, 6.3% to 10.2%]). However, patients randomized to receive TI were less likely to receive advanced airway management (3419 of 4404 patients [77.6%] vs 4161 of 4883 patients [85.2%] in the SGA group). Two of the secondary outcomes (regurgitation and aspiration) were not significantly different between groups (regurgitation: 1268 of 4865 patients [26.1%] in the SGA group vs 1072 of 4372 patients [24.5%] in the TI group; adjusted RD, 1.4% [95% CI, -0.6% to 3.4%]; aspiration: 729 of 4824 patients [15.1%] vs 647 of 4337 patients [14.9%], respectively; adjusted RD, 0.1% [95% CI, -1.5% to 1.8%]).
Conclusions and relevance: Among patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, randomization to a strategy of advanced airway management with a supraglottic airway device compared with tracheal intubation did not result in a favorable functional outcome at 30 days.
Trial registration: ISRCTN Identifier: 08256118.