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Fifteen-minute consultation: Intubation of the critically ill child presenting to the emergency department


Intubation of critically ill children presenting to the emergency department is a high-risk procedure. Our article aims to offer a step-by-step guide as to how to plan and execute a rapid, successful intubation in a way that minimises risk of adverse events and patient harm. We address considerations such as the need for adequate resuscitation before intubation and selection of equipment and personnel. We also discuss drug choice for induction and peri-intubation instability, difficult airway considerations as well as postintubation care. Focus is also given on the value of preintubation checklists, both in terms of equipment selection and in the context of staff role designation and intubation plan clarity. Finally, in cases of failed intubation, we recommend the application of the Vortex approach, highlighting, thus, the importance of avoiding task fixation and maintaining our focus on what matters most: adequate oxygenation.

  • intensive care units
  • paediatric
  • paediatric emergency medicine
  • resuscitation
  • paediatrics

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