A survey of current practices and adherence to coronavirus disease airway management guidelines among frontline healthcare professionals in a resource-limited country

Document Type



Anaesthesia; Emergency Medicine


Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought anaesthesiologists, intensive care and emergency physicians to the forefront due to their airway management skills. The aim of survey was to determine current practice trends in COVID-19 airway management among frontline healthcare professionals of Pakistan and their adherence to standard principles proposed by most consensus guidelines.
Methods: An online questionnaire was designed based on consensus guidelines from international societies. We contacted consultants and trainees nationwide working in anaesthesia, intensive care, and emergency departments through emails, phone calls, and social media platforms.
Results: A total of 285 individuals participated in this cross-sectional descriptive study. Intubations were largely performed by anaesthetists followed by emergency physicians. Deteriorating respiratory failure (89%) was the most frequent indication. Availability of trained staff, use of intubation checklist, limited staff presence during intubation, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment were positive findings. One-third reported that their workplace did not have negative pressure rooms for aerosol-generating procedures, and 63.3% responders do not perform airway assessment before intubation. The device of choice for the first attempt at laryngoscopy was Macintosh laryngoscope (51.6%) followed by videolaryngoscopes with disposable blades (24.2%). Availability of rescue devices in case of unanticipated difficult airway is variable; laryngeal mask airway (70.1%), bougie (82.2%), and stylet (68.7%) were present at majority places. Frequency of airway-related adverse events including hypoxemia (69.8%) and failed first attempt intubation (35.2%) was significant.
Conclusion: This survey found satisfactory knowledge, comparable practices, and offers some important insights about airway management in COVID-19 patients by healthcare professionals of Pakistan.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Turkish journal of anaesthesiology and reanimation