Intubation of the neurologically injured patient

Joshua Bucher, Alex Koyfman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Intubation of the neurologically injured patient is a critical procedure that must be done in a manner to prevent further neurologic injury. Although many different medications and techniques have been used to meet specific needs, there is little to no evidence to support many claims. Objective To review the literature regarding important topics relating to intubating patients with neurologic injury. Discussion Airway management requires ideal preoxygenation and airway maneuvers to minimize manipulation of the larynx and to maximize first-pass success. There is no evidence that lidocaine pretreatment decreases intracerebral pressure (ICP). Fentanyl can be used to help blunt the hemodynamic response to intubation. Esmolol is another medication that can blunt the hemodynamic response. Ketamine can be used and is possibly the ideal agent, having a neutral hemodynamic profile. A prefasciculation dose for neuromuscular blockade has not been shown to have any effect on ICP. Conclusions Ideal intubation conditions should be obtained through the use of airway manipulation techniques and appropriate medication choice for rapid sequence intubation in patients who are neurologically injured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-927
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015


  • airway management
  • intracerebral hemorrhage
  • neurologically injured patients
  • rapid sequence intubation
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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