The Prehospital Emergency Anaesthetic in 2022

Published:September 22, 2022DOI:


      Prehospital emergency anesthesia (PHEA) is a commonly performed prehospital procedure with inherent risks. The processes and drug regimens behind PHEA are continually updated by prehospital teams across the country as part of their governance structure. Essex & Herts Air Ambulance has recently updated this practice by reviewing the entire process of performing PHEA. Through experiential learning in a high-volume service, audit, and a contemporary literature review, a new standard operating procedure has been developed to combat common problems, such as hypotension, associated with the more traditional methods of performing PHEA. The aim of this article was to summarize the literature behind this new standard operating procedure, systematically breaking down the core components of performing a PHEA and the rationale behind them. The key components identified in the review are indications for PHEA, airway assessment, peri-intubation oxygenation, preparation for PHEA, drug dosing, special circumstances, and failed intubation. One significant change is the drug dosage regimen; 1 μg/kg fentanyl, 2 mg/kg ketamine, and 2 mg/kg rocuronium is recommended as the main drug dosing regimen for both medical and trauma patients. Other changes include preoxygenation with a nasal cannula in addition to the nonrebreather mask, optimizing patients in the preparation phase by considering inopressors or fluid bolus and ensuring a “sterile cockpit” to control the surrounding environment to ensure the first intubation attempt is the best attempt.
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