Unplanned intubation after surgery: Risk factors, prognosis, and medical emergency team effects

Christopher W. Snyder, Roshan D. Patel, Emily P. Roberson, Mary T. Hawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Unplanned intubation after surgery is a marker for severe adverse events. We investigated the incidence, risk factors, and prognosis of unplanned intubation after general and vascular surgery and sought to determine whether the deployment of a hospital-wide medical emergency team (MET) had a preventive effect. We included all patients undergoing general and vascular surgical procedures between Apri1 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008, from our American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data. Risk factors and incidence rates of unplanned intubation were compared before (preMET) and after (postMET) June 7, 2007. Chart review identified case details and fatality rates. There were 2426 patients included (1815 preMET, 611 postMET). The overall incidence of unplanned intubation was 2.6 per cent; significant risk factors included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dependent functional status, and emergent operation. Most (84%) unplanned intubations occurred in a critical care setting and the most common underlying reason was sepsis (40%). The overall case fatality rate was 43 per cent but varied significantly depending on the underlying reason for unplanned intubation. Incidence rates of unplanned intubation did not change significantly after MET deployment, suggesting that other strategies are needed to prevent this rare but highly morbid and mortal event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-838
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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