Efficacy of tracheal tube introducers and stylets for endotracheal intubation in the prehospital setting: a systematic review and meta‑analysis

Jaden Tollman, Zubair Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Purpose: Tracheal tube introducers and stylets remain some of the most widely used devices for aiding practitioners in performing endotracheal intubation (ETI). The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the efficacy of tracheal tube introducers and stylets for ETI in the prehospital setting. Methods: A literature search was conducted on the 2nd of March 2021 across PubMed, Embase (Ovid) and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) to identify relevant studies. Included studies had their data extracted and both a quality assessment and statistical analysis were performed. Results: The summary estimate of prehospital studies with video technology showed a statistically significant increase in first pass ETI success in favour of bougies (RR 1.15, CI 1.10–1.21, p < 0.0001). The summary estimates of prehospital studies without video technology and simulation studies with and without video technology showed no statistical difference between methods for first pass or overall ETI success. Some of the highest success rates were recorded by devices that incorporated video technology. Stylets lead to a shorter time to ETI while bougies were easier to use. Neither device was associated with a higher rate of ETI complications than the other. Conclusion: Both tracheal tube introducers and stylets function as efficacious aids to intubation in the prehospital environment. Where video technology is available, bougies could offer a statistically significant advantage in terms of first pass ETI success. Where video technology is unavailable, a combination of clinical scenario, practitioner expertise and personal preference might ultimately guide the choice of device.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Early online date31 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).


  • Bougie
  • Endotracheal intubation
  • Prehospital
  • Stylet
  • Tracheal tube introducer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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