Factors affecting providers' comfort and fear during intubations of patients with COVID-19

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Emergency medicine journal : EMJ




BACKGROUND: Providers performing endotracheal intubation are at high risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. The objective was to assess various demographic, exposure and institutional preparedness factors affecting intubators' comfort and fear level during COVID-19 intubations. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, survey-based study during the COVID-19 pandemic from September 2020 to January 2021 at a single academic medical centre in Washington, DC, USA. Inclusion criteria were healthcare providers who had an experience in intubating patients confirmed with or suspected of COVID-19. The survey assessed various factors related to the providers' comfort with intubation and fear during COVID-19 intubations. RESULTS: A total of 329 surveys from 55 hospitals were analysed. Of the respondents, 173 (52.6%) were from emergency medicine providers. Factors that were associated with a higher comfort level of intubating patients with COVID-19 included attending physician position (adjusted OR (aOR)=2.6, 95% CI 1.4 to 4.8; p=0.003), performing more than 20 COVID-19 intubations (aOR=3.3, 95% CI 1.5 to 6.6; p=0.002), participation in an intubation team (aOR=1.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.7; p=0.031) and adequate levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) (aOR=4.3, 95% CI 2.0 to 8.8; p<0.0005). Compared with emergency physicians, anaesthesiology providers had higher fear levels of contracting SARS-CoV-2 during both first and subsequent SARS-CoV-2 intubations (first: OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.6, p=0.006; subsequent: OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.4 to3.2, p<0.0005). CONCLUSION: A higher degree of comfort in intubating patients suspected of or confirmed with COVID-19 was demonstrated in more senior physicians, members of intubation teams, providers who performed a higher number of intubations and providers who reported adequate PPE. These findings highlight potential targets for improving the experience of providers in this setting.


Emergency Medicine