n South African Medical Journal - Position statement : pre-hospital rapid sequence intubation : forum

Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The Professional Board for Emergency Care at the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has approved pre-hospital rapid sequence intubation (RSI) as part of the scope of practice for registered emergency care practitioners (ECPs). RSI is an advanced airway management process that facilitates endotracheal intubation in adults and children. Features of this technique include pre-oxygenation, rapid pharmacological induction of unconsciousness, and neuromuscular blockade to enable the placement of an endotracheal tube. RSI has become widespread as the procedure of choice for definitive airway management by pre- and in-hospital emergency care personnel worldwide. In the emergency department setting, RSI is superior to intubation with deep sedation, a technique not incorporating pharmacological paralysis as part of the intubation sequence. For this reason, the implementation of RSI in the prehospital environment is supported, provided that it is practised within an appropriate framework of clinical governance.

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