Patient safety events in out-of-hospital paediatric airway management: a medical record review by the CSI-EMS

Matthew Hansen, Garth Meckler, William Lambert, Caitlin Dickinson, Kathryn Dickinson, Joshua Van Otterloo, Jeanne Marie Guise

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the frequency and characterise the nature of patient safety events in paediatric out-of-hospital airway management. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional medical record review of all 'lights and sirens' emergency medicine services transports from 2008 to 2011 in patients <18 years of age in the Portland Oregon metropolitan area. A chart review tool (see online supplementary appendix) was adapted from landmark patient safety studies and revised after pilot testing. Expert panels of physicians and paramedics performed blinded reviews of each chart, identified safety events and described their nature. The primary outcomes were presence and severity of patient safety events related to airway management including oxygen administration, bag-valve-mask ventilation (BVM), airway adjuncts and endotracheal intubation (ETI). Results: From the 11 328 paediatric transports during the study period, there were 497 'lights and sirens' (code 3) transports (4.4%). 7 transports were excluded due to missing data. Of the 490 transports included in the analysis, 329 had a total of 338 airway management procedures (some had more than 1 procedure): 61.6% were treated with oxygen, 15.3% with BVM, 8.6% with ETI and 2% with airway adjuncts. The frequency of errors was: 21% (71/338) related to oxygen use, 9.8% (33/338) related to BVM, 9.5% (32/338) related to intubation and 0.9% (3/338) related to airway adjunct use. 58% of intubations required 3 or more attempts or failed altogether. Cardiac arrest was associated with higher odds of a severe error. Conclusions: Errors in paediatric out-of-hospital airway management are common, especially in the context of intubations and during cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere012259
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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