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Improving the safety of paediatric airway management (Kids THRIVE)

Quick facts

Principal investigator:
Dr Shane George
Project commenced:

Children may present to an emergency department with life threatening conditions that require immediate treatment to support their breathing to allow enough oxygen to be supplied to the body.

In these circumstances a child is given medication to put them to sleep and the airway is secured with the insertion of a tube into the windpipe. This transition from spontaneous breathing awake to controlled respiration under anaesthetic via a breathing tube is called intubation and is associated with a high risk for low oxygen levels in the body and has a high rate of failure on the first attempt.

Newer methods to avoid these risks are currently the subject of many trials. In our study we investigate a new approach to prevent a drop in oxygen levels during intubation using high flow oxygen delivery. We have tested this method in children with healthy lungs undergoing anaesthesia for elective surgery and we found that we can maintain oxygen levels more than twice as long as using standard intubation methods. These findings would allow the operator in emergency settings more time and a safer condition to secure the airway in a sick child.

Therefore we aim to compare this new oxygenation method with the current standard practice to intubate a child in an emergency situation. We aim to demonstrate that the new method will reduce the risk for low oxygen levels in the blood and increase the likelihood of success of the procedure on the first attempt.

Grants Awarded

National Health and Medical Research Council

Thrasher Research Fund

Emergency Medicine Foundation

Last updated 29 Oct 2020