If you work in an environment without constant access to staff to clean and process your video laryngoscopes, you need to know how to do it yourself. This quick video demonstrates pragmatic cleaning of the C-MAC VL (original and latest version) for low-risk patients. Where there is high infection risk, heavy soiling or blood on the blades, high level disinfection may be indicated.
This real-life videolaryngoscopy example (RSI of a patient with a head injury for craniectomy) shows some commom errors, and room for improvement. Three major areas that could be better to spot here:
- Less-than-ideal positioning of the VL blade. The tip is too deep (over the epiglottis, rather than in the vallecula), which reduces the available space to manipulate both VL and ETT, the field of vision, and the ability to perceive the approach of the ETT.
- Quick suctioning of the secretions/saliva/mucus would reduce the risk of losing the view or the patient aspirating.
- An introducer (stylet/bougie) would greatly assist passage of the ETT through the cords.
A classic example of good videolaryngoscopy technique being thwarted by not always using an introducer (stylet or bougie). Note the clinician performing the intubation gets perfect, optimised VL view (Rule of 3), but then struggles to pass the ETT anteriorly enough, losing time. Although this was no problem for the well-oxygenated patient in this case (and the intubation is still under 45 seconds duration), in a critical case it can lead to desaturation, frustration, and possible intubation trauma.
This common problem is worst with small bougies, such as in this paediatric example of a child with severe burns and a difficult airway. The bevel of the ETT allows the tip of the tube to stick out right (laterally) of the bougie and snag on the right arytenoid cartilage. This can be remedied by withdrawing the ETT slightly (to disengage it from the arytenoid), effecting a one-quarter counter-clockwise rotation of the ETT on the bougie (bringing the bevel and tip of the ETT into a superior midline position snug with the bougie), and then advancing again.