Rapid sequence intubation: a survey of current practice in the South African pre-hospital setting

JC Botha

Research output: Thesis (awarded by external institution)Master's Thesis

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Background: Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) is an advanced airway skill commonly performed in the pre-hospital setting globally. In South Africa, pre-hospital RSI was first approved for non-physician providers by the Health Professions Council of South Africa in 2009 and introduced as part of the scope of practice of degree qualified Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) only. The aim of the research study was to investigate and describe, based on the components of the minimum standards of pre-hospital RSI in South Africa, specific areas of interest related to current pre-hospital RSI practice. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study design in the form of an online survey were conducted amongst operational ECPs in the pre-hospital setting of South Africa, using convenience and snowball sampling strategies. Results: A total of 87 participants agreed to participate. Eleven (12.6%) incomplete survey responses were excluded while 76 (87.4%) were included in the data analysis. The survey response rate could not be calculated. Most participants were operational in Gauteng (n=27, 35.5%) and the Western Cape (n=25, 32.9%). Overall participants reported that their education and training were perceived as being of good quality. An overwhelming number of participants (n=69, 90.8%) did not participate in an internship programme before commencing duties as an independent practitioner. Most RSI and post-intubation equipment were reported to be available, however, our results found that introducer stylets and/or bougies and EtCO2 devices are not available to some participants. Only 50 (65.8%) participants reported the existence of a clinical governance system within their organisation. Furthermore, our results indicate a lack of clinical feedback, deficiency of an RSI database, infrequent clinical review meetings and a shortage of formal consultation frameworks. Conclusion: The practice of safe and effective pre-hospital RSI, performed by non-physician providers or ECPs, rely on comprehensive implementation and adherence to all the 51 components of the minimum standards. Although there is largely an apparent alignment with the minimum standards, recurrent revision of practice needs to occur to ensure alignment with recommendations. Additionally, there are areas that may benefit from further research to improve current practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Cape Town
  • Lourens, Andrit , Supervisor
  • Stassen, Willem, Supervisor, External person
Award date14 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Rapid sequence intubation (RSI)
  • Pre-hospital
  • Minimum standards
  • Education and training
  • System requirements
  • Comprehensive clinical governance
  • South Africa


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