Airway Scope and Macintosh Laryngoscope for Tracheal Intubation in Patients Lying on the Ground

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BACKGROUND:Direct laryngoscopy of a patient lying on the ground is difficult because the intubator's head is far above the head of the patient, making alignment of the intubator's visual axis with the patient's tracheal axis difficult. The Airway Scope is a laryngoscope designed to facilitate tracheal intubation without requiring alignment of the oral, pharyngeal, and tracheal axes. We thus tested the hypothesis that intubation with the Airway Scope is faster than with the Macintosh laryngoscope in subjects lying on the ground.METHODS:Adult surgical patients were enrolled. After anesthesia induction, direct laryngoscopy was performed and airway characteristics noted. Patients were randomly assigned to tracheal intubation by either the Airway Scope (n = 50) or the Macintosh laryngoscope (n = 50). The intubator performed tracheal intubation from a table positioned at the same height as that of the operating table, thus simulating intubating on the ground. An unblinded observer recorded overall intubation success rate, time required for intubation, the number of attempts required for successful intubation, and airway complications related to intubation. Of these, the primary end point was time required for intubation.RESULTS:Overall intubation success rates were 98% with the Airway Scope and 100% with the Macintosh laryngoscope. Intubation was 17 s faster with the Airway Scope (mean, 18 (SD, 4) seconds) versus the Macintosh laryngoscope (35 (16) seconds). The number of intubation attempts was similar with each device. The incidences of airway complications were similar, with no hypoxia (SpO2 <95%) occurring in either group.CONCLUSIONS:Both the Airway Scope and the Macintosh laryngoscope offer high success rates in adequately prepared paralyzed patients lying supine at ground level in the hands of a skilled practitioner. However, the Airway Scope facilitated faster tracheal intubation.

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