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Neonatal intubation: Shabs Rajapaksa at DFTB18


This talk was recorded live at DFTB18 in Melbourne, Australia. With the theme of ‘Science and Story’ we pushed our speakers to step out of their comfort zones and consider why we do what we do. Caring for children is not just about acquiring the scientific knowhow but also about taking a look beyond a diagnosis or clinical conundrum at the patient and their families. Tickets for DFT19, which will be held in London, UK, are now on sale from

Shabs Rajapaksa is a general paediatrician working in Ballarat, Victoria. In this talk, from the first day of the conference she takes a look at a skill that scares many of us.  Despite not being a specialist neonatologist or paediatric anaesthetist Shabs points out the importance of maintaining the skill set, including some of the challenges that this might present to the rural practitioner.

Pooled data from over 8000 neonatal intubations showed, as one might expect, that intubation success depended on level of experience. But surprisingly even consultants had a mean first pass success rate of around 60%.




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Selected References

Nicu Doctor worksheets


DeMeo SD, Katakam L, Goldberg RN, Tanaka D. Predicting neonatal intubation competency in trainees. Pediatrics. 2015 Apr 1:peds-2014.

Hatch LD, Grubb PH, Lea AS, Walsh WF, Markham MH, Maynord PO, Whitney GM, Stark AR, Ely EW. Interventions to improve patient safety during intubation in the neonatal intensive care unit. Pediatrics. 2016 Sep 21:e20160069.

Lingappan K, Arnold JL, Fernandes CJ, Pammi M. Videolaryngoscopy versus direct laryngoscopy for tracheal intubation in neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018(6).

Sawyer T, Foglia E, Hatch LD, Moussa A, Ades A, Johnston L, Nishisaki A. Improving neonatal intubation safety: a journey of a thousand miles. Journal of neonatal-perinatal medicine. 2017 Jan 1;10(2):125-31.


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