Associations of stylet use during neonatal intubation with intubation success, adverse events, and severe desaturation: A Report from NEAR4NEOS

National Emergency Airway Registry for Neonates: NEAR4NEOS Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Intubations are frequently performed procedures in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and delivery rooms (DR). Unsuccessful first attempts are common as are tracheal intubation-associated events (TIAEs) and severe desaturations. Stylets are often used during intubation, but their association with intubation outcomes is unclear. Objective: To compare intubation success, rate of relevant TIAEs, and severe desaturations in neonates intubated with and without stylets. Methods: Tracheal intubations of neonates in the NICU or DR from 16 centers between October 2014 and December 2018, performed by neonatology or pediatric providers, were collected from the NEAR4NEOs international registry. Primary oral intubations with a laryngoscope were included in the analysis. First-attempt success, the occurrence of relevant TIAEs, and severe oxygen desaturation (≥20% saturation drop from baseline) were compared between intubations performed with versus without a stylet. Logistic regression with generalized estimate equations was used to control for covariates and clustering by sites. Results: Out of 5,292 primary oral intubations, 3,877 (73%) utilized stylets. Stylet use varied considerably across the centers with a range between 0.5 and 100%. Stylet use was not associated with first-attempt intubation success, esophageal intubation, mainstem intubation, or severe desaturations after controlling for confounders. Patient size was associated with these outcomes and much more predictive of success. Conclusions: Stylet use during neonatal intubation was not associated with higher first-attempt intubation success, fewer relevant TIAEs, or less severe desaturations. These data suggest that stylets can be used based on individual preference, but stylet use may not be associated with better intubation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Airway injury
  • Difficult airway
  • Neonatal intubation
  • Stylet
  • Tracheal intubationassociated events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology


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