Tracheal Intubation Can Cause Cardiovascular Instability, Other Adverse Health Effects: Study

New research highlights potential health effects from Tracheal intubation, indicating that placement of the plastic tube in the windpipe to maintain an open airway may cause major cardiopulmonary issues in critically ill patients.

Tracheal intubation has a major role in the medical community as an emergency procedure for people who are unconscious or cannot breathe on their own due to other medical conditions. However, in a study published last week in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, researchers determined nearly half of intubated patients suffer a major clinical event.

The results of the study may be critical to the medical community because of how commonly used the procedure is, and the lack of information on adverse peri-intubation events which arise around the heart.

Researchers across the European Union conducted a study among the international medical community including 2,964 patients ranging across 197 sites and 29 countries from October 2018 to July 2019. The age of patients ranged from 39 to 74 and the median age was 63. The study consisted of mainly men, who made up 62.6% of the patients.

According to the findings, at least one major clinical event happened after intubation with 45.2% of patients. Cardiovascular instability happened in 42.6% of those events, severe hypoxemia in 9.3%, and cardiac arrest in 3.1%. These issues were found to occur within the first 30 minutes of the intubation.

The researchers determined the main reason for intubation was respiratory failure, which was found in 52.3% of patients. This was followed by neurological impairment in 30.5% of patients and cardiovascular instability in 9.4% of patients.

The study objective was to evaluate the nature of harmful peri-intubation events and to assess the current practice of intubation for critically ill patients. The researchers propose data that could help influence the decision making of using intubation due to the near coin flip, 45.2% risk, danger of a potential cardiopulmonary issue in patients.

“In this observational study of intubation practices in critically ill patients from a convenience sample of 197 sites across 29 countries, major adverse peri-intubation events—in particular cardiovascular instability—were observed frequently,” the researchers warned.

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