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.