Although it’s commonly practiced, results from a large new study call into question the effectiveness of intubating adults who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest.
As we report in a May news article, researchers analyzed data for 108,079 adult patients who experienced cardiac arrest in the hospital between 2000 and 2014—and found that patients who were intubated within the first 15 minutes of arresting were less likely to survive than patients who were not.
Among other findings, intubated patients were less likely to experience a return of spontaneous circulation and had a lower rate of good functional outcome (defined as either mild or no neurological deficit, or only moderate cerebral disability).
The researchers concluded that the study results do not support early intubation for adults who experience cardiac arrest. However, they noted that their analysis was unable to eliminate potential confounders like the skills and experience of health care professionals, the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest, and the quality of chest compressions. Additional clinical trials are needed to yield useful results and to better understand the influence of confounding factors. […]