Carney N, Totten AM, Cheney T Prehospital Airway Management: A Systematic Review. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021; 1-12

Major complications of airway management in the UK. 2011. https// (accessed 27 January 2022)

Gowens P, Aitken-Fell P, Broughton W Consensus statement: a framework for safe and effective intubation by paramedics. Br Paramed J. 2018; 3:(1)23-27

Shea B J, Reeves B C, Wells G AMSTAR 2: a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions, or both. BMJ. 2017; 358

van Schuppen H, Boomars R, Kooij F, den Tex P, Koster R, Hollmann M. Optimizing airway management and ventilation during prehospital advanced life support in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A narrative review. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2021; 35:(1)67-82

Prehospital airway management

02 February 2022
Volume 14 · Issue 2


The prehospital emergency airway management is a key moderating factor for patient survival and mortality rates. There has been much debate around the optimum method of prehospital emergency airway management. This commentary critically appraises a recent systematic review which assesses the harms and benefits of three different airway management strategies for a range of emergency clinical scenarios.

Commentary on: Carney N, Totten AM, Cheney T et al. Prehospital Airway Management: A Systematic Review. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021;1–12.

The optimal emergency management of a patient's airway is one of the most important aspects of prehospital emergency care and one that has—and continues to be—much debated by prehospital clinical specialty groups and professional bodies (Gowens et al, 2018). It is critical to the successful management of a patient's airway that appropriately trained clinicians use the correct skills, equipment and strategies to meet the patient's airway needs and failure to do so is likely to impact negatively on patient morbidity and mortality (Cook et al, 2021). Endotracheal intubation has long been considered the ‘gold standard’ for airway management, but there has been controversy in recent years about which approach to airway management is optimal in the prehospital setting given the variable success rates and high complications associated with prehospital endotracheal intubation and recent advances in supraglottic airway devices (van Schuppen et al, 2021). The systematic review by Carney et al (2021) aims to provide an evidence base to inform recommendations and practice for prehospital airway management; it was also intended to inform the development of guidelines within the United States.

Subscribe to get full access to the Journal of Paramedic Practice

Thank you for visiting the Journal of Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.

What's included

  • CPD Focus

  • Develop your career

  • Stay informed