Tracheal intubation (TI) is a routine procedure in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is often life-saving. In contrast to the controlled conditions in the operating room, critically ill patients with respiratory failure and shock are physiologically unstable. These factors, along with a suboptimal evaluation of the airway and limited oxygen reserves despite adequate pre-oxygenation, are responsible for a high incidence of life-threatening complications such as severe hypoxaemia and cardiovascular collapse during TI in the ICU. The All India Difficult Airway Association (AIDAA) proposes a stepwise plan for safe management of the airway in critically ill patients. These guidelines have been developed based on available evidence; wherever robust evidence was lacking, recommendations were arrived at by consensus opinion of airway experts, incorporating the responses to a questionnaire sent to members of the AIDAA and the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists. Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation during pre-oxygenation improves oxygen stores in patients with respiratory pathology. Nasal insufflation of oxygen at 15 L/min can increase the duration of apnoea before the occurrence of hypoxaemia. High-flow nasal cannula oxygenation at 60–70 L/min may also increase safety during TI in critically ill patients. Stable haemodynamics and gas exchange must be maintained during rapid sequence induction. It is necessary to implement an intubation protocol during routine airway management in the ICU. Adherence to a plan for difficult airway management incorporating the use of intubation aids and airway rescue devices and strategies is useful.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine