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Volume 23 Supplement 2

London Trauma Conference 2014

  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

Endotracheal intubation with and without night vision goggles in a helicopter and emergency room setting – a manikin study

  • 1, 2Email author,
  • 1,
  • 2, 3,
  • 4, 5 and
  • 6
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine201523 (Suppl 2) :A27

  • Published:


  • Success Rate
  • Visual Analogue Scale
  • Primary Endpoint
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency Room


Securing the airway by endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a key issue in civilian and military pre-hospital critical care. Night vision goggles (NVG) are used by personnel operating in low-light tactical environments. We examined the feasibility of an anaesthesiologist performed ETI using binocular NVG in a helicopter setting.


Twelve anaesthesiologists performed ETI on a manikin in an emergency room (ER) setting and two helicopter-settings, with randomization to either rotary wing daylight (RW-D) or rotary wing in total darkness using binocular NVG (RW-NVG). Primary endpoint was intubation time. Secondary endpoints included success rate, Cormack-Lehane (CL) score and subjective difficulty according to the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).


The median intubation time was shorter for the RW-D compared to the RW-NVG setting (16,5 s vs 30,0 s; p=0,03). We found no difference in median intubation time for the ER and RW-D settings (16,8 s vs 16,5 s; p=0,91). For all scenarios success rate was 100%. CL and VAS varied between the ER setting (CL 1,8, VAS 2,8), RW-D setting (CL 2,0, VAS 3,0) and RW-NVG setting (CL 3,0, VAS 6,5).


This study suggests that anaesthesiologists successfully and quickly can perform ETI in a helicopter setting both in daylight and in darkness using binocular NVG, but with shorter intubation times in daylight.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interests

Authors’ Affiliations

Karolinska Institutet/Södersjukhuset, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Section of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Sweden
SAE Medevac Helicopter, Armed Forces Centre for Defense Medicine (FörmedC), Sweden
Ambulance Helicopter VGR, Säve, Sweden
Department of Research and Development, The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, Holterveien 24, PO Box 94, N-1441 Drøbak, Norway
Field of Pre-Hospital Critical Care, Network of Medical Sciences, University of Stavanger, Kjell Aarholms gate 41, Stavanger, 4036, Norway
Karolinska Institutet, Department of Physiology, Section of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Stockholm, Sweden


© Gellerfors et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.