Practice of Intubation of the Critically Ill at Mayo Clinic

Nathan Smischney, Mohamed O. Seisa, Katherine J. Heise, Kyle D. Busack, Theodore O. Loftsgard, Darrell R. Schroeder, Daniel A. Diedrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the practice of intubation of the critically ill at a single academic institution, Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and to report the incidence of immediate postintubation complications. Patients and Methods: Critically ill adult (≥18 years) patients admitted to a medical–surgical intensive care unit from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, who required endotracheal intubation included. Results: The final cohort included 420 patients. The mean age at intubation was 62.9 ± 16.3 years, with 58% (244) of the cohort as male. The most common reason for intubation was respiratory failure (282 [67%]). The most common airway device used was video laryngoscopy (204 [49%]). Paralysis was used in 264 (63%) patients, with ketamine as the most common sedative (194 [46%]). The most common complication was hypotension (170 [41%]; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 35.7-45.3) followed by hypoxemia (74 [17.6%]; 95% CI: 14.1-21.6), with difficult intubation occurring in 20 (5%; 95% CI: 2.9-7.3). Conclusion: We found a high success rate of first-pass intubation in critically ill patients (89.8%), despite the procedure being done primarily by trainees 92.6% of the time; video was the preferred method of laryngoscopy (48.6%). Although our difficult intubation (4.8%) and complication rates typically associated with the act of intubation such as aspiration (1.2%; 95% CI: 0.4-2.8) and esophageal intubation (0.2%; 95% CI: 0.01-1.3) are very low compared to other published rates (8.09%), postintubation hypotension (40.5%) and hypoxemia (17.6%) higher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-211
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • airway management
  • critically ill
  • intensive care unit
  • intubation
  • mayo clinic
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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