, Volume 189, Issue 3, pp 181–192 | Cite as

Airway Management in Critically Ill Patients

  • Donald E. G. Griesdale
  • William R. Henderson
  • Robert S. Green


In critically ill patients, endotracheal intubation is associated with a high risk of complications, including severe hypoxemia and hypotension. The purpose of this review is to discuss the definitions, complications, airway assessment, and patient optimization with respect to these patients. In addition, we present different approaches and techniques to help secure the airway in critically ill patients. We also discuss strategies to help minimize the risk of a difficult or failed airway and to mitigate the severe life-threatening complications associated with this high-risk procedure.


Intubation Intratracheal Critical care Critically ill 



We acknowledge Ms. Corrie Menon RRT, who was instrumental in designing and implementing the airway assessment and postintubation documentation forms. Dr. Griesdale was supported through a Clinician Scientist Award from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. Dr. Green was supported through the Clinician Scientist Program, Dalhousie Medical School.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald E. G. Griesdale
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • William R. Henderson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert S. Green
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Program of Critical Care MedicineVancouver General HospitalVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiaVancouver General HospitalVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology and TherapeuticsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and EvaluationVancouver Coastal Health Research InstituteVancouverCanada
  6. 6.Department of Emergency MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  7. 7.Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of AnesthesiaDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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