Authors: Vincenzo Russotto MD et al
JAMA March 23, 2021
Question Among critically ill patients undergoing tracheal intubation worldwide, how common are major adverse events during the peri-intubation period?
Findings In this prospective observational study that included 2964 patients from 197 sites across 29 countries from October 2018 to July 2019, at least one major clinical event occurred after intubation in 45.2% of patients, including cardiovascular instability in 42.6%, severe hypoxemia in 9.3%, and cardiac arrest in 3.1%.
Meaning Among an international sample of critically ill patients undergoing tracheal intubation, major cardiopulmonary events occurred frequently.
Importance Tracheal intubation is one of the most commonly performed and high-risk interventions in critically ill patients. Limited information is available on adverse peri-intubation events.
Objective To evaluate the incidence and nature of adverse peri-intubation events and to assess current practice of intubation in critically ill patients.
Design, Setting, and Participants The International Observational Study to Understand the Impact and Best Practices of Airway Management in Critically Ill Patients (INTUBE) study was an international, multicenter, prospective cohort study involving consecutive critically ill patients undergoing tracheal intubation in the intensive care units (ICUs), emergency departments, and wards, from October 1, 2018, to July 31, 2019 (August 28, 2019, was the final follow-up) in a convenience sample of 197 sites from 29 countries across 5 continents.
Exposures Tracheal intubation.
Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was the incidence of major adverse peri-intubation events defined as at least 1 of the following events occurring within 30 minutes from the start of the intubation procedure: cardiovascular instability (either: systolic pressure <65 mm Hg at least once, <90 mm Hg for >30 minutes, new or increase need of vasopressors or fluid bolus >15 mL/kg), severe hypoxemia (peripheral oxygen saturation <80%) or cardiac arrest. The secondary outcomes included intensive care unit mortality.
Results Of 3659 patients screened, 2964 (median age, 63 years; interquartile range [IQR], 49-74 years; 62.6% men) from 197 sites across 5 continents were included. The main reason for intubation was respiratory failure in 52.3% of patients, followed by neurological impairment in 30.5%, and cardiovascular instability in 9.4%. Primary outcome data were available for all patients. Among the study patients, 45.2% experienced at least 1 major adverse peri-intubation event. The predominant event was cardiovascular instability, observed in 42.6% of all patients undergoing emergency intubation, followed by severe hypoxemia (9.3%) and cardiac arrest (3.1%). Overall ICU mortality was 32.8%.
Conclusions and Relevance In this observational study of intubation practices in critically ill patients from a convenience sample of 197 sites across 29 countries, major adverse peri-intubation events—in particular cardiovascular instability—were observed frequently.