Emergency airway management in patients with cervical spine injuries

Anaesthesia. 1994 Oct;49(10):900-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1994.tb04271.x.


A retrospective study of admissions to a Level 1 Trauma Centre, revealed 393 patients with traumatic cervical spine injuries. All 36 patients intubated urgently and 37 and 68 patients intubated between 30 min and 24 h of admission, were intubated orally, following a rapid sequence induction with the application of cricoid pressure and manual in-line stabilisation of the head and neck. There were no neurological sequelae in these 73 patients (95% confidence interval 0-4%). This technique for airway management is described in detail. It is a safe, familiar, and effective method for securing the airway in patients with cervical spine injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Cricoid Cartilage
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy*