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Prehospital Airway Management in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

      Abstract

      Objective

      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among trauma patients. The final outcome of TBI results from a complex interaction between primary and secondary mechanisms of injury that begin immediately after the traumatic event. The aim of this review was to evaluate the latest evidence regarding the impact of prehospital airway management and the outcome after traumatic brain injury.

      Methods

      PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane searches were conducted using the MeSH database. Airway management, traumatic brain injury, pneumonia, and the subheadings of these Medical Subject Headings were combined.

      Results

      The review is structured into 4 major topics: airway management devices, prehospital pharmacologic management, mortality and neurologic outcomes, and early respiratory infections. The available literature shows a shift toward a more comprehensive view of prehospital airway management, taking into account not only the location where airway management is attempted but also the drugs administered, the airway management devices used, and the skills of the main professional figures attending the scene.

      Conclusions

      Literature about this topic is still inconclusive; however, new evidence taking into consideration more complex aspects of airway management rather than orotracheal intubation per se shows improved outcomes with aggressive prehospital airway management.
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