Skip to main content

Supporting Professionals Who Care

Pre-Hospital and Emergency Care: The Lifeline of Medical Airways

Pre-Hospital and Emergency Care: The Lifeline of Medical Airways

Posted by DS Medical on 10th Jun 2024

In the critical moments of a medical emergency, the management of a patient’s airway is paramount. Pre-hospital and emergency care providers are often the first responders on the scene, tasked with the vital role of ensuring that patients can breathe adequately until they can be transported to a hospital for further treatment.

The Importance of Airway Management Airway management is a key component of pre-hospital care and is crucial for patient survival and recovery from emergent illnesses or injuries. It involves a series of manoeuvres and medical procedures used to maintain or restore airway functionality, which is essential for oxygenation and protection against aspiration.

In the UK, pre-hospital and emergency care airway management is a critical aspect of patient treatment. The Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) has provided guidelines suggesting that tracheal intubation may not be the optimal method of airway management by paramedics and could be detrimental to patient outcomes. Instead, they recommend the use of supraglottic airway devices (SADs), such as the laryngeal mask airway, which are considered a suitable alternative for paramedics.

The Pre Hospital Hub outlines a stepwise approach to pre-hospital airway management, emphasising the importance of systematic assessment, basic airway manoeuvres, supplementary oxygenation, and, if necessary, advanced airway techniques to optimise patient outcomes. This approach ensures that pre-hospital care providers can maintain adequate oxygenation and ventilation, ensuring patient safety and improving outcomes.

For more detailed information on the steps involved in pre-hospital airway management and the recommendations by JRCALC, you can refer to the resources provided by the JRCALC and the Pre Hospital Hub

Airway Management

MicrosoftWord - APPROVED FINAL AIRWAY 17.6.8.doc (

PrehospitalAirway Management Steps : Pre Hospital Hub

Pre-hospital anaesthesia: the same but different | BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia | Oxford Academic (