Advanced airway management in out of hospital cardiac arrest: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Am J Emerg Med. 2018 Dec;36(12):2298-2306. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2018.09.045. Epub 2018 Sep 26.


Objectives: To assess the difference in survival and neurological outcomes between endotracheal tube (ETT) intubation and supraglottic airway (SGA) devices used during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

Methods: A systematic search of five databases was performed by two independent reviewers until September 2018. Included studies reported on (1) OHCA or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and (2) endotracheal intubation versus supraglottic airway device intubation. Exclusion criteria (1) stimulation studies, (2) selectively included/excluded patients, (3) in-hospital cardiac arrest. Odds Ratios (OR) with random effect modelling was used. Primary outcomes: (1) return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), (2) survival to hospital admission, (3) survival to hospital discharge, (4) discharge with a neurologically intact state.

Results: Twenty-nine studies (n = 539,146) showed that overall, ETT use resulted in a heterogeneous, but significant increase in ROSC (OR = 1.44; 95%CI = 1.27 to 1.63; I2 = 91%; p < 0.00001) and survival to admission (OR = 1.36; 95%CI = 1.12 to 1.66; I2 = 91%; p = 0.002). There was no significant difference in survival to discharge or neurological outcome (p > 0.0125). On sensitivity analysis of RCTs, there was no significant difference in ROSC, survival to admission, survival to discharge or neurological outcome (p > 0.0125). On analysis of automated chest compression, without heterogeneity, ETT provided a significant increase in ROSC (OR = 1.55; 95%CI = 1.20 to 2.00; I2 = 0%; p = 0.0009) and survival to admission (OR = 2.16; 95%CI = 1.54 to 3.02; I2 = 0%; p < 0.00001).

Conclusions: The overall heterogeneous benefit in survival with ETT was not replicated in the low risk RCTs, with no significant difference in survival or neurological outcome. In the presence of automated chest compressions, ETT intubation may result in survival benefits.

Keywords: Advanced airway management; Cardiac arrest; Intubation; Laryngeal mask; Laryngeal tube.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management / methods
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / instrumentation*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Patient Discharge