Airway MedicalPaediatricsResuscitationSMACCPaediatric intubation

Paediatric intubation.

From DAS SMACC, Charles Larson and Andrew Beck discuss intubating sick kids – small holes, big problems.

When intubating a critically ill child we fear that they are going to arrest on induction and we consider the skill required to intubate in difficult circumstances. The most important thing to remember is that we will never be so good that we won’t make mistakes.

The greatest critical care physicians are those that have good skills but that are also able to identify what might go wrong.

Understanding the risks and having a plan for when something goes wrong is crucial.

Managing critically ill children is a difficult task. We must understand their physiology, have a plan for induction and have a plan for if things go wrong.

Importantly, we need to consider that it takes several minutes for drugs to kick in for children. What matters more than what drug you give is how you give it. Children don’t follow recipes so nor should you.

Furthermore, some golden rules in managing airways in children:

1. Simulation and training is key: We don’t want to be educating ourselves on our patients, particularly in rare scenarios.

2. We must know our equipment, know our limits and know our support systems. Being able to call down help early is priceless.

3. Assess, plan and communicate with the team.

4. Don’t repeat without change. Trying to put the same size tube down the same size hole will always lead to problems.

5. Training needs to be ongoing and skills need to be revisited. Confidence does not always equal competence.

Charles Larson and Andrew Beck share stories of Paediatric intubation in high pressure scenarios.

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Charles Larson

Pediatric Intensivist


Andrew Beck