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Volume 23 Supplement 2

London Trauma Conference 2014

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


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.

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Correspondence to Mikael Gellerfors.

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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.

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Gellerfors, M., Svensén, C., Linde, J. et al. Endotracheal intubation with and without night vision goggles in a helicopter and emergency room setting – a manikin study. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 23 (Suppl 2), A27 (2015).

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