After cardiac arrest a combination of basic and advanced airway and ventilation techniques are used during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and after a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). The optimal combination of airway techniques, oxygenation and ventilation is uncertain. Current guidelines are based predominantly on evidence from observational studies and expert consensus; recent and ongoing randomised controlled trials should provide further information. This narrative review describes the current evidence, including the relative roles of basic and advanced (supraglottic airways and tracheal intubation) airways, oxygenation and ventilation targets during CPR and after ROSC in adults. Current evidence supports a stepwise approach to airway management based on patient factors, rescuer skills and the stage of resuscitation. During CPR, rescuers should provide the maximum feasible inspired oxygen and use waveform capnography once an advanced airway is in place. After ROSC, rescuers should titrate inspired oxygen and ventilation to achieve normal oxygen and carbon dioxide targets.
- Airway Management/methods
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/methods
- Heart Arrest/physiopathology
- Respiration, Artificial/methods