A description of the technique for intubating through a supraglottic airway that offers a sufficiently large internal bore to allow an appropriate-sized endotracheal tube using an adult fibreoptic or flexible video endoscope. Take note of the method of providing ventilation during the endoscopy!
As usual, this is an unscripted video, and constructive critique is welcomed to help us improve the educational offering.
A video example of performing a straightforward intubation using the AirTraq optical laryngoscope, here coupled with the WiFi-enabled camera unit to allow image capture. Note the optimal positioning (“Rule of 3”):
Epiglottis visible at the top of the screen
Vocal cords central in the vertical axis
Interarytenoid cleft in the lower half of the screen.
This intubation is using a reinforced (“armored”) endotracheal tube, which is sometimes more difficult than a standard ETT, as it is a little floppier. The AirTraq makes it simple in this instance. The reinforced ETT was used to facilitate patient positioning for a neurosurgical case.
Over the past two weeks, I have been involved in three cases where all means of laryngoscopic intubation failed – including multiple different blades, introducers and highly skilled hands – and the airway could only be intubated with a flexible fibreoptic ‘scope. These three cases illustrate the type of pathology that can make even video laryngoscopy (VL) difficult or impossible:
A morbidly obese patient in traction with a high spinal injury
A patient presenting with late-stage, advanced laryngeal carcinoma with both supra- and infraglottic involvement and masses
A child with Pierre-Robin Sequence presenting for mandibular distraction surgery.
The well-known thoracic anaesthesia guru, Prof Jay Brodsky, has written a succinct and simple overview of the use of fibreoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) in thoracic anaestheisa, which is equally applicable to the modern flexible video endoscopes. If you are looking for a brief primer (including the appropriate use for placement of bronchial blockers and double-lumen ETTs), read the article on the Airway E-Learning site here.
Importantly, he elucidates the reasons for becoming proficient in the clinical placement and confirmation of DLTs without the use of a FOB, which is of particular relevance here in the developing world.
This month’s edition of Anesthesiology News features a worthwhile piece from Prof John Doyle, in which he poses 7 questions on the current state of airway management to 6 airway experts from around the world (Abdelmalak, Cooper, Frova, Rosenblatt, Spiegel and Doyle himself), and collates their responses into a dialogue. Definitely worth reading to determine what some (certainly not all) of the biggest names in the world are thinking on: