Prehospital Drug Assisted Airway Management: An NAEMSP Position Statement and Resource Document

Jeffrey L. Jarvis, John W. Lyng, Brian L. Miller, Michael C. Perlmutter, Heidi Abraham, Ritu Sahni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Airway management is a critical intervention for patients with airway compromise, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest. Many EMS agencies use drug-assisted airway management (DAAM) - the administration of sedatives alone or in combination with neuromuscular blockers - to facilitate advanced airway placement in patients with airway compromise or impending respiratory failure who also have altered mental status, agitation, or intact protective airway reflexes. While DAAM provides several benefits including improving laryngoscopy and making insertion of endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airways easier, DAAM also carries important risks. NAEMSP recommends: DAAM is an appropriate tool for EMS clinicians in systems with clear guidelines, sufficient training, and close EMS physician oversight. DAAM should not be used in settings without adequate resources. EMS physicians should develop clinical guidelines informed by evidence and oversee the training and credentialing for safe and effective DAAM. DAAM programs should include best practices of airway management including patient selection, assessmenct and positioning, preoxygenation strategies including apneic oxygenation, monitoring and management of physiologic abnormalities, selection of medications, post-intubation analgesia and sedation, equipment selection, airway confirmation and monitoring, and rescue airway techniques. Post-DAAM airway placement must be confirmed and continually monitored with waveform capnography. EMS clinicians must have the necessary equipment and training to manage patients with failed DAAM, including bag mask ventilation, supraglottic airway devices and surgical airway approaches. Continuous quality improvement for DAAM must include assessment of individual and aggregate performance metrics. Where available for review, continuous physiologic recordings (vital signs, pulse oximetry, and capnography), audio and video recordings, and assessment of patient outcomes should be part of DAAM continuous quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 2022


  • airway management
  • apneic oxygenation
  • capnography
  • delayed sequence airway
  • out-of-hospital
  • prehospital
  • rapid sequence airway
  • rapid sequence intubation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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