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February 22, 1985

Intubation of the Trachea in the Critical Care Setting

Author Affiliations

From the Critical Care Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1985;253(8):1160-1165. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350320084023

SKILL at intubation of the trachea is an essential part of the medical repertoire of any physician who has primary care responsibility for patients in a critical care setting. It is common practice in hospitals today to perform tracheal intubation on an emergency or elective basis for ventilatory assistance, high-flow oxygen administration, bronchial hygiene, or airway protection. This article will give the physician not experienced in intubation a general background in the considerations and decisions the experienced laryngoscopist may make when intubating a critically ill patient. This article cannot hope to cover all the materials and techniques used in intubation, but will briefly discuss the key anatomy of the upper airway and the equipment, drugs, and techniques in intubation of the trachea that might be used in a critical care setting. The practice of intubation and airway management should be acquired in a controlled setting under knowledgeable supervision.

Anatomy  The