Last reviewed 01/2018

In the acute situation indications for endotracheal intubation include:

  • inability to maintain an airway
  • serious facial injury disrupting normal anatomy
  • vomit or blood in the upper airway which has not been cleared by suction - decreases likelihood of aspiration
  • high risk of airway obstruction, i.e. in burns patients, respiratory arrests

Less acute situations that are indications include:

  • for general anaesthesia when the patient needs to be paralysed, e.g. for abdominal surgery
  • inability to ventilate the unconscious patient
  • operations around the head and oropharynx
  • patient has been unconscious for some while and it is important to maintain proper oxygenation