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Title: Airway management of adult epiglottitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Authors: Booth AWG
Pungsornruk K
Llewellyn S
Sturgess D
Vidhani K
Keywords: adult epiglottitis
airway intervention
intubation; tracheostomy
Issue Date: 5-Jan-2024
Source: 9:100250
Abstract: Abstract Background: Adult epiglottitis is a life-threatening airway emergency where airway protection is the immediate priority. Despite its importance, the optimal approach to airway management remains unclear. We performed a systematic review of the airway management for adult epiglottitis, including meta-analysis of trends over time. Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE®, and Embase® for adult epiglottitis studies that described the airway management between 1980 and 2020. The primary outcome was the prevalence of airway intervention. Secondary outcomes were prevalence of tracheal intubation, tracheostomy, and failed intubation. A random-effects model meta-analysis was performed with subgroups defined by decade of study publication. Cases that described the specific method of airway intervention and severity of epiglottitis were included in a separate technique summary. Results: Fifty-six studies with 10 630 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The overall rate of airway intervention was 15.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.9-18.8%) but the rate decreased from 20% to 10% between 1980 and 2020. The overall rate of tracheal intubation was 10.2% (95% CI 7.1-13.6%) and that of failed intubation was 4.2% (95% CI 1.4-8.0%). The airway technique summary included 128 cases, of which 75 (58.6%) were performed awake and 53 (41.4%) involved general anaesthesia. We identified 32 cases of primary technique failure. Conclusion: The rate of airway intervention for adult epiglottitis has decreased over four decades to a current level of 10%. Tracheal intubation is a high-risk scenario with a 1 in 25 failure rate. Specific technique selection is most likely influenced by contextual factors including the severity of epiglottitis. Keywords: adult epiglottitis; airway intervention; epiglottitis; intubation; tracheostomy.
ISSN: 2772-6096
Appears in Collections:Scholarly and Clinical

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