Simplifying trauma airway management in South African rural hospitals

Michael Berry, Darryl Wood


South African emergency centres witness high levels of trauma. Successfully managing a compromised trauma airway requires considerable skill and expertise. In the rural healthcare setting, clinics and hospitals are often staffed by junior doctors without formal advanced airway training. Current airway management algorithms tend to ignore lack of resources and skill. We therefore propose a simplified guideline for the rural hospital practitioner. Our algorithm offers a step-by-step approach, with the aim of providing an easy sequence to follow that will ensure successful airway management and patient safety. The lack of advanced airway equipment in most rural hospitals is taken into consideration.

Authors' affiliations

Michael Berry, Ngwelezane Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; trainee in anaesthesia and intensive care, UK

Darryl Wood, Emergency medicine specialist, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Ngwelezane Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Full Text



Airway management; Rapid-sequence intubation; Trauma airway; Airway algorithm

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(9):604-606. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8064

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-02-12
Date published: 2014-05-14

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