Systematic Application of Rapid Sequence Intubation With Remifentanil During COVID-19 Pandemic

Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 Mar;25(1):74-75. doi: 10.1177/1089253220941369. Epub 2020 Jul 15.


In this letter, the authors wonder about the need to apply some of the precautions that have been repeatedly suggested during the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 19) pandemic not only to suspected or documented cases of infection but also to all the new cases entering the hospital. In this regard, orotracheal intubation has been universally recognized as a maneuver with a high risk of viral transmission. On the other hand, rapid sequence induction, which represents the gold standard for limiting the risk of transmission for health care professionals, implies side effects that can be potentially harmful for patients with impaired hemodynamics. In this regard, the authors report a particular type of rapid induction that they are performing in a systematic way during the recent pandemic in cardiac surgery patients. This is performed after the patient reaches a deep analgesic plan, thanks to the unique characteristics of the opioid remifentanil. This type of induction, already tested in vasculopathic patients who underwent carotid surgery, is characterized by great hemodynamic stability and is very advantageous, in the writer's experience, when rapid sequence induction has to be systematically applied to cardiovascular patients, especially if you only want to protect operators.

Keywords: COVID-19; airway management; analgesics opioid; anesthetic techniques; induction; infection prevention and control; remifentanil.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Remifentanil / pharmacology*
  • SARS-CoV-2*


  • Remifentanil