According to recent research published in the journal Resuscitation, “Recent studies document a high incidence of hyperventilation by prehospital providers, with a potentially detrimental effect on outcome in traumatic brain injury (TBI). To document the incidence of hyperventilation by aero-medical providers and explore a possible relationship between hyperventilation episodes and desaturations or impending hypoxemia. This was a prospective, descriptive study using TBI patients undergoing prehospital RSI by aero-medical crews.”

“Continuous data regarding end-tidal CO2 (EtCO2), ventilatory rate, and oxygen saturation (SPO2) were downloaded from hand-held oximeter-capnometer devices. Two investigators independently assessed oximetry/capnometry data to identify the following occurrences: desaturation during RSI (SpO(2) < 90%), impending hypoxemia (SpO(2) decrease by >= 3% to a value <95%) following intubation, loss Of SpO(2) signal, hyperventilation (EtCO2 < 30 mmHg), and severe hyperventilation (EtCO2 < 25 mmHg). Covariate analysis was used to explore the possible association between hyperventilation episodes and either desaturation, impending hypoxemia, or loss of SpO(2) signal. A total of 32 aero-medical patients were enrolled with a mean duration of ventilation monitoring of 14.8 min. The incidence of hyperventilation or severe hyperventitation was substantially tower than previously documented with ground paramedics. A total of 28 hyperventilation episodes were identified in 16 patients; 13 of these were associated with impending hypoxemia following intubation, five were associated with desaturation during RSI, and seven were associated with loss Of SpO(2) signal. The remaining three occurred immediately following intubation without desaturation during RSI. Desaturation was observed in 62% of patients; of note, desaturation was recorded on the quality improvement document in only 23% of these. Covariate analysis revealed an association between hyperventilation episodes and either desaturatios during RSI, impending hypoxemia following intubation, or toss of SpO(2) signal,” wrote D.P. Davis and colleagues, University of California.

The researchers concluded: “The incidence of hyperventilation by aeromedical crews was lower than reported for ground paramedics and appears to occur in response to desaturation, impending hypoxemia, or loss of SpO(2) signal.”

Davis and colleagues published their study in Resuscitation (Hyperventilation following aero-medical rapid sequence intubation may be a deliberate response to hypoxemia. Resuscitation, 2007;73(3):354-361).

For additional information, contact D.P. Davis, University of California, Medical Center, Dept. of Emergency Medical, 200 W Arbor Dr., Mailcode 8676, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.

This article was prepared by Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2007, Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week via NewsRx.com.