Survival of Casualties Undergoing Prehospital Supraglottic Airway Placement Versus Cricothyrotomy

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Schauer SG, Naylor JF, Chow AL, Maddry JK, Cunningham CW, Blackburn MB, Nawn CD, April MD 19(2). 91 - 94 (Journal Article)

Background: Airway compromise is the second leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Unlike a cricothyrotomy, supraglottic airway (SGA) placement does not require an incision and is less technically challenging. We compare the survival of causalities undergoing cricothyrotomy versus SGA placement. Methods: We used a series of emergency department (ED) procedure codes to search within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) from January 2007 to August 2016. This is a subanalysis of that data set. Results: During the study period, 194 casualties had a documented cricothyrotomy and 22 had a documented SGA as the sole airway intervention. The two groups had similar proportions of explosive injuries (57.7% versus 63.6%, p = .328), similar composite injury severity scores (25 versus 27.5, p = .168), and similar AIS for the head, face, extremities, and external body regions. The cricothyrotomy group had lower AIS for the thorax (0 versus 3, p = .019), a trend toward lower AIS for the abdomen (0 versus 0, p = .077), more serious injuries to the head (67.5% versus 45.5%, p = .039), and similar rates of serious injuries to the face (4.6% versus 4.6%, p = .984). Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores were similar on arrival to the ED (3 versus 3, p = .467) as were the proportion of patients surviving to discharge (45.4% versus 40.9%, p = .691). On repeated multivariable analyses, the odds ratios for survival were not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusions: We found no difference in short-term outcomes between combat casualties who received an SGA vs those who received a cricothyrotomy. Military prehospital personnel rarely used either advanced airway intervention during the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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