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P049: Post-intubation sedation in the emergency department: a survey of national practice patterns

  • S. Freeman (a1), M. Columbus (a1), T. Nguyen (a1), S. Mal (a1) and J. Yan (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: Endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a lifesaving procedure commonly performed by emergency department (ED) physicians that may lead to patient discomfort or adverse events (e.g., unintended extubation) if sedation is inadequate. No ED-based sedation guidelines currently exist, so individual practice varies widely. This study's objective was to describe the self-reported post-ETI sedation practice of Canadian adult ED physicians. Methods: An anonymous, cross-sectional, web-based survey featuring 7 common ED scenarios requiring ETI was distributed to adult ED physician members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP). Scenarios included post-cardiac arrest, hypercapnic and hypoxic respiratory failure, status epilepticus, polytrauma, traumatic brain injury, and toxicology. Participants indicated first and second choice of sedative medication following ETI, as well as bolus vs. infusion administration in each scenario. Data was presented by descriptive statistics. Results: 207 (response rate 16.8%) ED physicians responded to the survey. Emergency medicine training of respondents included CCFP-EM (47.0%), FRCPC (35.8%), and CCFP (13.9%). 51.0% of respondents work primarily in academic/teaching hospitals and 40.4% work in community teaching hospitals. On average, responding physicians report providing care for 4.9 ± 6.8 (mean ± SD) intubated adult patients per month for varying durations (39.2% for 1–2 hours, 27.8% for 2–4 hours, and 22.7% for ≤1 hour). Combining all clinical scenarios, propofol was the most frequently used medication for post-ETI sedation (38.0% of all responses) and was the most frequently used agent except for the post-cardiac arrest, polytrauma, and hypercapnic respiratory failure scenarios. Ketamine was used second most frequently (28.2%), with midazolam being third most common (14.5%). Post-ETI sedation was provided by > 98% of physicians in all situations except the post-cardiac arrest (26.1% indicating no sedation) and toxicology (15.5% indicating no sedation) scenarios. Sedation was provided by infusion in 74.6% of cases and bolus in 25.4%. Conclusion: Significant practice variability with respect to post-ETI sedation exists amongst Canadian emergency physicians. Future quality improvement studies should examine sedation provided in real clinical scenarios with a goal of establishing best sedation practices to improve patient safety and quality of care.

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