Short Report

Time taken to perform a rapid sequence intubation within a simulated prehospital environment

C Vincent-Lambert, R Loftus


Background. Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) involves inducing unconsciousness and paralysis in rapid succession in order to facilitate endotracheal tube placement. RSI has recently been introduced to the scope of practice of South African prehospital emergency care practitioners (ECPs). Despite this, there remains limited evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of RSI within this context. While in-hospital studies have shown that it can take 20 minutes or more to perform an RSI, little is known about the time taken to perform the procedure in the prehospital setting. 

Objective. To measure the time taken to perform an RSI in a simulated prehospital environment. 

Methods. A sample of final-year ECP students were video-recorded performing RSIs on a mannequin within a simulated prehospital environment. Data were gathered through an analysis of the recordings, allowing for the capturing of times taken to complete each of the phases of a RSI. 

Results. A mean time of 15 minutes 5 seconds was recorded to complete the procedure. This was shorter than times reported for in-hospital studies. 

Conclusion. RSI is a potentially harmful procedure if improperly performed and has the potential to create delays in transport that may not always be in the patient’s best interest. With a mean time of 15 minutes 5 seconds, the performance of RSI by ECP students in the simulated prehospital environment was faster than expected. Further research is recommended to explore the relationship between the performances observed in this mannequin-based study with those in authentic prehospital settings. 

Authors' affiliations

C Vincent-Lambert, Department of Emergency Medical Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

R Loftus, Department of Emergency Medical Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2019;35(2):70-73. DOI:10.7196/SAJCC.2019.v35i2.368

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-11-07
Date published: 2019-11-07

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