Preoxygenation and prevention of desaturation during emergency airway management

Scott D. Weingart, Richard M. Levitan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations


Patients requiring emergency airway management are at great risk of hypoxemic hypoxia because of primary lung pathology, high metabolic demands, anemia, insufficient respiratory drive, and inability to protect their airway against aspiration. Tracheal intubation is often required before the complete information needed to assess the risk of periprocedural hypoxia is acquired, such as an arterial blood gas level, hemoglobin value, or even a chest radiograph. This article reviews preoxygenation and peri-intubation oxygenation techniques to minimize the risk of critical hypoxia and introduces a risk-stratification approach to emergency tracheal intubation. Techniques reviewed include positioning, preoxygenation and denitrogenation, positive end expiratory pressure devices, and passive apneic oxygenation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175.e1
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


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