Research Analysis: Airway management better with the bougie

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Researchers at Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota Department of Emergency Medicine recently published the results of the Bougie Use in Emergency Airway Management (BEAM) randomized clinical trial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The BEAM trial compared intubations done in a Level I trauma center using a Macintosh blade, with and without a bougie. Patients were randomly assigned to each group and all intubations were done by either a senior emergency medicine resident or an attending physician.

The trial was powered to focus on patients with a difficult airway, including “body fluid(s) obscuring the laryngeal view, airway obstruction or edema, obesity, short neck, small mandible, large tongue, facial trauma or cervical spine immobilization.” However, because the researchers were incapable of knowing if an airway would be difficult, they collected information on non-difficult airways, as well.

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