Study objective: Etomidate, a widely used induction agent for rapid sequence intubation in the emergency department (ED), causes measurable adrenal suppression after a single bolus dose. The clinical significance of this adrenal suppression in patients with sepsis remains controversial. We seek to determine the difference in hospital length of stay between patients with suspected sepsis who receive either etomidate or midazolam during intubation in our ED. Methods: We performed a prospective, double-blind, randomized study of patients with suspected sepsis who were intubated in our ED during an 18-month period. Eligible patients who were critically ill and were suspected of having sepsis were randomized to receive either etomidate or midazolam before intubation. Results: A total of 122 patients were enrolled; 59 received midazolam and 63 received etomidate. Two patients in the etomidate group were lost to follow-up. Patient baseline characteristics were similar between groups. There were no significant differences in median hospital length of stay (9.5 versus 7.3 days), ICU length of stay (4.2 versus 3.1 days), or ventilator days (2.8 versus 2.1) between patients who received midazolam and those who received etomidate, respectively. Inhospital mortality was 21 of 59 (36%; 95% confidence interval 24% to 49%) for patients who received midazolam and 26 of 61 (43%; 95% confidence interval 30% to 56%) for patients who received etomidate. For patients who survived to hospital discharge, the median length of stay was 11.3 days in the midazolam group versus 11.8 days in the etomidate group; for patients who died, the median length of stay was 2.9 days in the midazolam group versus 3.3 days in the etomidate group. Conclusion: Patients with suspected sepsis and who received a single bolus dose of etomidate for rapid sequence intubation showed no significant increase in hospital length of stay compared with patients who received a single bolus dose of midazolam.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine