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Apnoeic oxygenation during intubation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, NSW


Apnoeic oxygenation during intubation is used to prevent desaturation during intubation. The aim of this review was to assess whether apnoeic oxygenation during endotracheal intubation reduced the incidence of hypoxaemia. Five major databases were systematically searched for all relevant studies published up to May 2016. All study designs with a control group and a group receiving apnoeic oxygenation were included in this review. These studies were then assessed for level of evidence and risk of bias. The data were then analysed using a meta-analysis. Eleven studies (six high quality randomised controlled trials, four low quality level two studies and one low quality level three study) were found. In the meta-analysis there was strong evidence for benefit of apnoeic oxygenation in terms of improved SpO2 in elective surgical patients, obese patients and those undergoing emergency intubation without respiratory failure. However, no significant benefit was found in patients with respiratory failure. This is the first meta-analysis to be performed on apnoeic oxygenation during intubation. Apnoeic oxygenation provides significant benefit in terms of improving SpO2 for the majority of intubations, although there appears to be no benefit in patients whose indication for intubation is respiratory failure. Apnoeic oxygenation ought to be considered for integration into intubation protocols.

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