Recommendations for Prehospital Airway Management in Patients with Suspected COVID-19 Infection

Hart, J.

In light of the rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and hospitals nationwide have developed new protocols to address infection control as well as the care of critical patients. Airway management has been particularly difficult; the challenge of quickly establishing an airway in patients must be balanced by the risk of aerosolizing respiratory secretions and putting the provider at risk of infection. Significant attention has been given to developing protocols for the emergency department and critical care units, but little guidance regarding establishing airway and respiratory support for patients in the prehospital setting has been made available. While some of the recommendations can be extrapolated from hospital guidelines, other factors such as environment and available resources make these protocols unfeasible. Through review of current literature the authors established recommendations regarding airway management and the provision of respiratory support to patients developing respiratory failure related to COVID-19.

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Applying a Model of Teamwork Processes to Emergency Medical Services

Fernandez, WG.

Effective teamwork has been shown to optimize patient safety. However, research centered on the critical inputs, processes, and outcomes of team effectiveness in emergency medical services (EMS) has only recently begun to emerge. We conducted a theory-driven qualitative study of teamwork processes—the interdependent actions that convert inputs to outputs—by frontline EMS personnel in order to provide a model for use in EMS education and research.

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Paramedic Pain Management Practice with Introduction of a Non-opiate Treatment Protocol

O’Connor, L.

There is concern about the initiation of opiates in healthcare settings due to the risk of future misuse. Although opiate medications have historically been at the core of prehospital pain management, several states are introducing non-opiate alternatives to prehospital care. Prior studies suggest that non-opiate analgesics are non-inferior to opiates for many acute complaints, yet there is little literature describing practice patterns of pain management in prehospital care. Our goal was to describe the practice patterns and attitudes of paramedics toward pain management after the introduction of non-opiates to a statewide protocol.

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Development and Implementation of a Community Paramedicine Program in Rural United States

Myers, LA.

Community paramedicine (CP) is an innovative care model focused on medical management for patients suffering from chronic diseases or other conditions that result in over-utilization of healthcare services. Despite their value, CP care models are not widely used in United States healthcare settings. More research is needed to understand the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing CP programs. Our objective was to develop a CP program to better meet the needs of complex, high-utilizer patients in a rural setting.

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Paramedic-performed Prehospital Point-of-care Ultrasound for Patients with Undifferentiated Dyspnea: A Pilot Study

Schoeneck, JH.

Thoracic ultrasound is frequently used in the emergency department (ED) to determine the etiology of dyspnea, yet its use is not widespread in the prehospital setting. We sought to investigate the feasibility and diagnostic performance of paramedic acquisition and assessment of thoracic ultrasound images in the prehospital environment, specifically for the detection of B-lines in congestive heart failure (CHF).

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Climate Change Adaptation: Prehospital Data Facilitate the Detection of Acute Heat Illness in India

Ranadive, N.

Extreme heat is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and the incidence of acute heat illness (AHI) will likely increase secondary to anthropogenic climate change. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of AHI are critical; however, relevant diagnostic and surveillance tools have received little attention. In this exploratory cross-sectional and diagnostic accuracy study, we evaluated three tools for use in the prehospital setting: 1) case definitions; 2) portable loggers to measure on-scene heat exposure; and 3) prevalence data for potential AHI risk factors.

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Estimated Cost Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccination for Emergency Medical Services Professionals

Hubble, WK.

Because of their frequent contact with compromised patients, vaccination against influenza is recommended for all healthcare workers. Recent studies suggest that vaccination decreases influenza transmission to patients and reduces worker illness and absenteeism. However, few emergency medical services (EMS) agencies provide annual vaccination, and the vaccination rate among EMS personnel remains low. Reticence among EMS agencies to provide influenza vaccination to their employees may be due in part to the unknown fiscal consequences of implementing a vaccination program. In this study, we sought to estimate the cost effectiveness of an employer-provided influenza vaccination program for EMS personnel.

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Centralized Ambulance Destination Determination: A Retrospective Data Analysis to Determine Impact on EMS System Distribution, Surge Events, and Diversion Status

Bains, G.

Emergency medical services (EMS) systems can become impacted by sudden surges that can occur throughout the day, as well as by natural disasters and the current pandemic. Because of this, emergency department crowding and ambulance “bunching,” or surges in ambulance-transported patients at receiving hospitals, can have a detrimental effect on patient care and financial implications for an EMS system. The Centralized Ambulance Destination Determination (CAD-D) project was initially created as a pilot project to look at the impact of an active, online base hospital physician and paramedic supervisor to direct patient destination and distribution, as a way to improve ambulance distribution, decrease surges at hospitals, and decrease diversion status.

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Outcomes Associated with Lower Doses of Ketamine by Emergency Medical Services for Profound Agitation

Coffey, SK.

Ketamine is commonly used to treat profound agitation in the prehospital setting. Early in ketamine’s prehospital use, intubation after arrival in the emergency department (ED) was frequent. We sought to measure the frequency of ED intubation at a Midwest academic medical center after prehospital ketamine use for profound agitation, hypothesizing that intubation has become less frequent as prehospital ketamine has become more common and prehospital dosing has improved.

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Clinical, Operational, and Socioeconomic Analysis of EMS Bypass of the Closest Facility for Pediatric Asthma Patients

Finlay, E.

Pediatric hospital care is becoming increasingly regionalized, with fewer facilities providing inpatient care for common conditions such as asthma. That trend has major implications for emergency medical services (EMS) medical care and operations because EMS historically transports patients to the closest facility. This study describes EMS transport patterns of pediatric asthma patients in greater depth, including an analysis of facility bypass rates and the association of bypass with demographics and clinical outcomes.

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Accuracy of Height Estimation Among Bystanders

Carey, DO, et al.

The height and other details of mechanism are usually reported by lay bystanders or prehospital personnel. This small observational study was designed to evaluate how accurate or inaccurate height estimation may be among typical bystanders.

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Outcomes of Emergency Medical Service Usage in Severe Road Traffic Injury during Thai Holidays

Riyapan, MD, et al.

There are usually higher incident rates of RTI in Thailand over long holidays such as New Year and Songkran. To our knowledge, there have been no studies that describe the impact of emergency medical service (EMS) utilization by RTI patients in Thailand. We sought to determine the outcomes of EMS utilization in severe RTIs during the holidays.

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Out-of-Hospital Surgical Airway Management: Does Scope of Practice Equal Actual Practice?

Volume 17. Issue 3, May 2016
Molly Furin, MD, MS et al.

Introduction: Pennsylvania, among other states, includes surgical airway management, or
cricothyrotomy, within the paramedic scope of practice. However, there is scant literature that evaluates
paramedic perception of clinical competency in cricothyrotomy. The goal of this project is to assess
clinical exposure, education and self-perceived competency of ground paramedics in cricothyrotomy.
Methods: Eighty-six paramedics employed by four ground emergency medical services agencies
completed a 22-question written survey that assessed surgical airway attempts, training, skills verification,
and perceptions about procedural competency. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate responses.
Results: Only 20% (17/86, 95% CI [11-28%]) of paramedics had attempted cricothyrotomy, most (13/17
or 76%, 95% CI [53-90%]) of whom had greater than 10 years experience. Most subjects (63/86 or 73%,
95% CI [64-82%]) did not reply that they are well-trained to perform cricothyrotomy and less than half
(34/86 or 40%, 95% CI [30-50%]) felt they could correctly perform cricothyrotomy on their first attempt.
Among subjects with five or more years of experience, 39/70 (56%, 95% CI [44-68%]) reported 0-1 hours
per year of practical cricothyrotomy training within the last five years. Half of the subjects who were able
to recall (40/80, 50% 95% CI [39-61%]) reported having proficiency verification for cricothyrotomy within
the past five years.
Conclusion: Paramedics surveyed indicated that cricothyrotomy is rarely performed, even among those
with years of experience. Many paramedics felt that their training in this area is inadequate and did not
feel confident to perform the procedure. Further study to determine whether to modify paramedic scope of
practice and/or to develop improved educational and testing methods is warranted.

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Prehospital Care

Electronic Prehospital Records are Often Unavailable for Emergency Department Medical Decision Making

Author Affiliation Bryan E. Bledsoe, DO University of Nevada School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada MedicWest Ambulance/American Medical Response, Las Vegas, Nevada Chad Wasden, MD University of Nevada School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada Larry Johnson, NREMTP University of Nevada School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, […]

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Prehospital Care

Education On Prehospital Pain Management: A Follow-Up Study

Introduction: In a 2001 quality improvement (QI) study, we demonstrated improvement in paramedic knowledge, perceptions, and management of pain. This follow-up study examines the impact of this QI program, repeated educational intervention (EI), and effectiveness of a new pain management standard operating procedure.
Conclusion: In this follow up study, paramedics’ baseline knowledge, perceptions, and management of pain have all improved from 6 years ago.

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Prehospital Care

Comparison of Prehospital Glucose with or without IV Thiamine

Introduction: Loading of thiamine prior to glucose administration during hypoglycemia to prevent Wernicke’s encephalopathy is routine in the prehospital setting. To date no study has looked at the validity of this therapy.

Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first study in the literature which evaluated the use of thiamine with glucose to prevent Wernicke’s encephalopathy in the prehospital setting. We found that routine administration of thiamine with glucose did not result in differences in respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure, GCS or ED hospital discharge rates. Until further research is done to validate our results emergency medical services leadership should consider whether the routine use of thiamine in the prehospital setting is appropriate for their system.

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Adoption of the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme for Injured Patients

When emergency medical services (EMS) providers respond to the scene of an injury, they must decide where to transport the injured patients for further evaluation and treatment. This is done through a process known as “field triage”, whereby a patient’s injuries are matched to the most appropriate hospital. In 2005–2006 the National Expert Panel on Field Triage, convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revised the 1999 American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Field Triage Decision Scheme. This revision, the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme, was published in 2006.

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Mass Casualty Incident Response and Aeromedical Evacuation in Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the most remote regions on Earth. Mass casualty incident (MCI) responses in Antarctica are prone to complications from multiple environmental and operational challenges. This review of the current status of MCI risks and response strategies for Antarctica focuses on aeromedical evacuation, a critical component of many possible MCI scenarios.

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Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

333 The City Blvd. West, Rt 128-01
Suite 640
Orange, CA 92868, USA
Phone: 1-714-456-6389


ISSN: 1936-900X
e-ISSN: 1936-9018

ISSN: 2474-252X

Our Philosophy

Emergency Medicine is a specialty which closely reflects societal challenges and consequences of public policy decisions. The emergency department specifically deals with social injustice, health and economic disparities, violence, substance abuse, and disaster preparedness and response. This journal focuses on how emergency care affects the health of the community and population, and conversely, how these societal challenges affect the composition of the patient population who seek care in the emergency department. The development of better systems to provide emergency care, including technology solutions, is critical to enhancing population health.