Airway Management during CPR

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The priorities of airway management during cardiopulmonary resuscitation are to minimise interruptions in chest compressions, to optimise blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs and to minimise delays in defibrillation if the initial rhythm is shockable. Thus, during the initial treatment of cardiac arrest, unusually, the circulation takes priority over the airway. Maintaining a patent airway will enable ventilation and oxygenation of the lungs, which becomes increasingly important after the first 3–4 minutes of sudden primary cardiac arrest (i.e. of cardiac cause). The optimal airway management strategy during cardiac arrest is uncertain. Many cardiac arrest patients are treated with multiple airway devices and this stepwise approach to airway management is difficult to study in controlled trials. The results of three recent randomised clinical trials suggest tracheal intubation should only be used in those settings with a high intubation success rate. While early oxygenation and ventilation are logically more important after asphyxial cardiac arrest existing resuscitation guidelines recommend the same sequence of actions regardless.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCore Topics in Airway Management
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781108303477
ISBN (Print)9780521111881
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2020.


  • Airway
  • asphyxia
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • in hospital
  • out of hospital
  • resuscitation
  • supraglottic airway
  • tracheal intubation


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