Characterizing intubation practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network (CCEDRRN) sites

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Ismath, Muzeen
Black, Holly
Hrymak, Carmen
Rosychuk, Rhonda J.
Archambault, Patrick
Fok, Patrick T.
Audet, Thomas
Dufault, Brenden
Hohl, Corinne
Leeies, Murdoch
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Objective The risk of occupational exposure during endotracheal intubation has required the global Emergency Medicine (EM), Anesthesia, and Critical Care communities to institute new COVID- protected intubation guidelines, checklists, and protocols. This survey aimed to deepen the understanding of the changes in intubation practices across Canada by evaluating the pre-COVID-19, early-COVID-19, and present-day periods, elucidating facilitators and barriers to implementation, and understanding provider impressions of the effectiveness and safety of the changes made. Methods We conducted an electronic, self-administered, cross-sectional survey of EM physician site leads within the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network (CCEDRRN) to characterize and compare airway management practices in the pre-COVID-19, early-COVID-19, and present-day periods. Ethics approval for this study was obtained from the University of Manitoba Health Research Ethics Board. The electronic platform SurveyMonkey ( was used to collect and store survey tool responses. Categorical item responses, including the primary outcome, are reported as numbers and proportions. Variations in intubation practices over time were evaluated through mixed-effects logistic regression models. Results Invitations were sent to 33 emergency department (ED) physician site leads in the CCEDRRN. We collected 27 survey responses, 4 were excluded, and 23 analysed. Responses were collected in English (87%) and French (13%), from across Canada and included mainly physicians practicing in mainly Academic and tertiary sites (83%). All respondents reported that the intubation protocols used in their EDs changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (100%, n = 23, 95% CI 0.86-1.00). Conclusions This study provides a novel summary of changes to airway management practices in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Information from this study could help inform a consensus on safe and effective emergent intubation of persons with communicable respiratory infections in the future.
SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Emergency airway management, Emergency intubation, Clinical simulation, In situ simulation
BMC Emergency Medicine. 2023 Nov 24;23(1):139