Purpose: The new Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) basic curriculum includes an optional session on intubation. Unfortunately little data is available regarding retention of endotracheal intubation skills by basic EMTs. The objective of this study was to examine endotracheal intubation skills by basic EMTs, and compare skills retention for a transillumination (TI) versus a direct visualization (DV) technique.
Methods: A prospective, randomized trial was conducted over a five week period during a basic EMT class. EMT classes were randomized to train students to perform endotracheal intubation using either a transillumination or a direct visualization technique. Initial education was performed using an airway mannequin during a modified, accelerated three hour course, consisting of both a didactic and skills session. To assess performance, participants were tested using an airway mannequin and checklist currently implemented by our flight nurse program. Without further education or practice, students were then tested one week and five weeks later to assess short and long term retention.