Tag Archives: airway e-learning

Is fibreoptic intubation a dying art?

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.

In an article on the Airway E-Learning site, Dr Matthew Wiles details why he thinks fibreoptic intubation (FOI) is becoming a rare beast, and why we should work hard to maintain excellence in this important skill.

Despite being a huge fan and daily user of VLs, I am completely in agreement with his sentiments.

Overview of the use of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in thoracic 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.