Evaluating Pre Burn Center Intubation Practices: An Update

Anthony R. Cai, Erica I. Hodgman, Puneet B. Kumar, Alvand J. Sehat, Alexander L. Eastman, Steven E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A significant proportion of patients appeared to arrive at our American Burn Association-verified burn center intubated without clear benefit. The current study aims to evaluate regional prehospital intubation practices and their outcomes. All consecutive admissions from November 2012 to June 2014 were reviewed for data points associated with intubation. Demographics and outcomes for patients who were intubated before arrival or within 24 hours of admission were compared using χ 2, Fisher's exact test, and the Kruskal-Wallis test as appropriate. During this period, 958 patients were admitted. Of these, 120 were intubated before arrival, and 91 survived their injuries. Of these 91 survivors, 45 were extubated within 2 days, suggesting unnecessary intubation rate in 37.5%. Intubation-related complications were roughly three times as common among those intubated before arrival (12.5% vs 4.4%). Patients intubated before arrival to our burn center had a shorter median duration of intubation (1.0 vs 4.0 days), median hospital LOS (5.0 vs 22.0 days), and median intensive care unit length of stay (3.0 vs 10.0 days). Furthermore, we found a significant difference in the pattern of ventilator support duration between those arriving intubated, with a median of 2.0 days, and those intubated at our burn center, with a median of 5.5 days. Patients intubated by pre burn center providers have shorter intubation durations and shorter hospitalizations, suggesting inappropriate use of resources. Impending loss of airway appears unlikely among patients with adequate gas exchange at the time of examination. The current criteria for prehospital intubation should be revised to more accurately identify those who truly benefit from advanced airway maneuvers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e23-e29
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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