Airway Ultrasound

The use of ultrasound in managing both the upper airways (airway ultrasound) and lower airways (lung ultrasound) has become increasingly accepted and steadily more common over the last 5-10 years. Here are some resources focusing predominantly on airway US, which is accessible and quick to learn. We will undoubtedly see more trials showing the utility of these techniques in clinical practice in the years to come.

For a quick overview of the upper airway sonoanatomy, watch this great video by Robin Lunden:

Free online course

Yes, you read that right. USABCD has a free online e-learning workshop on Airway Ultrasonography that you can take from the comfort of your chair. This includes basic ultrasound physics, airway ultrasound, basic lung ultrasound, and ultrasound guided assessment of gastric content.

You’ll need to create a profile to access the content, but check it out:

Educational resources

In addition to the free course above, you may find the following useful:

UCT-Storz African Airway Fellow Dr Mmapali Mokapela’s presentation on Airway Ultrasound:

Free eManual by Stone & Chan on “Focussed Ultrasound for Airway Management” published by Philips:

Video resources

Learn localisation of the cricothyroid membrane from one of the Godfathers of airway ultrasound, Michael Kristensen:
TACA technique:
(Transverse axis or TAX)
Pearls technique:
(Longitudinal axis or LAX)

Journal resources

Kristensen MS, Teoh WH, Rudolph SS. Ultrasonographic identification of the cricothyroid membrane: best evidence, techniques, and clinical impact. British Journal of Anaesthesia. DOI: 10.1093/bja/aew176

Osman & Sum J Intensive Care 2016: Role of ultrasound in upper airway management. Excellent images with shading to assist identification of anatomy – highly recommended. doi: 10.1186/s40560-016-0174-z

Kristensen, Teoh et al. Insights Imaging 2014: Ultrasonography for clinical decision-making and intervention in airway management: from the mouth to the lungs and pleurae.

Kristensen, Teoh et al. Anaesthesia 2016: A randomised cross‐over comparison of the transverse and longitudinal techniques for ultrasound‐guided identification of the cricothyroid membrane in morbidly obese subjects.

You-Ten et al. Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia 2018: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) of the upper airway.

Latest update: 2022/04/22 RH. Please feel free to post your comments, links and suggestions below!

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Open access meducation for all aspects of airway management