A Pilot Study to Assess Urban, Fire-Based Paramedic Accuracy in Identification of Anatomical Landmarks Necessary for Cricothyrotomy and Needle Chest Decompression Using Live Patient Models

Romeo R. Fairley, Sophia Ahmed, Steven G. Schauer, David A Wampler, Kaori Tanaka, Bryan Everitt, Mark K. Sparkman, Ramon Casanova, Justin Sifuentes, Christopher J. Winckler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cricothyrotomy and chest needle decompression (NDC) have a high failure and complication rate. This article sought to determine whether paramedics can correctly identify the anatomical landmarks for cricothyrotomy and chest NDC. Methods: A prospective study using human models was performed. Paramedics were partnered and requested to identify the location for cricothyrotomy and chest NDC (both mid-clavicular and anterior axillary sites) on each other. A board-certified or board-eligible emergency medicine physician timed the process and confirmed location accuracy. All data were collected de-identified. Descriptive analysis was performed on continuous data; chi-square was used for categorical data. Results: A total of 69 participants were recruited, with one excluded for incomplete data. The paramedics had a range of six to 38 (median 14) years of experience. There were 28 medical training officers (MTOs) and 41 field paramedics. Cricothyroidotomy location was correctly identified in 56 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 2.0 to 38.2 (median 8.6) seconds. Chest NDC (mid-clavicular) location was correctly identified in 54 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 3.4 to 25.0 (median 9.5) seconds. Chest NDC (anterior axillary) location was correctly identified in 43 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 1.9 to 37.9 (median 9.6) seconds. Chi-square (2-tail) showed no difference between MTO and field paramedic in cricothyroidotomy site (P =.62), mid-clavicular chest NDC site (P =.21), or anterior axillary chest NDC site (P =.11). There was no difference in time to identification for any procedure between MTO and field paramedic. Conclusion: Both MTOs and field paramedics were quick in identifying correct placement of cricothyroidotomy and chest NDC location sites. While time to identification was clinically acceptable, there was also a significant proportion that did not identify the correct landmarks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • airway
  • cricothyrotomy
  • Keywords:
  • needle chest decompression
  • paramedic education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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