Effectiveness and Safety of a Novel Approach for Management of Patients with Potential Difficult Mask Ventilation and Tracheal Intubation: A Multi-center Randomized Trial

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Background:Patients with potential difficult mask ventilation (DV) and difficult intubation (DI) are often managed with awake intubation, which can be stressful for patients and anesthesiologists. This prospective randomized study evaluated a new approach, fast difficult airway evaluation (FDAE). We hypothesized that the FDAE approach would reduce the need for awake intubation.Methods:After obtaining informed consent, 302 patients with potential DV/DI undergoing elective surgeries were randomly assigned to the FDAE group (Group E) and the control group (Group C). In Group E, patients were gradually sedated, and adequacy of manual mask ventilation during spontaneous breathing was assessed at various sedation levels. Awake intubation was applied in those with inadequate mask ventilation. In Group C, DI was evaluated under local anesthesia. However, the care team could intubate under general anesthesia if the vocal cords were visible. The primary outcome was the rate of awake intubations in both groups and the induction efficiency assessed by the induction time. The secondary outcome was the incidence of serious complications.Results:The rate of awake intubation was significantly lower in Group E than that in Group C (5.81% vs. 36.05%, χ2 = 42.3, P < 0.001). The induction time was much shorter in Group E than in Group C (11.85 ± 4.82 min vs. 18.71 ± 7.85 min, t = 5.39, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the incidence of intubation related complications between the two groups. Patients in Group E had a much lower incidence of recall (9.68% vs. 44.90%, χ2 = 47.68, P < 0.001) of the induction process and higher satisfaction levels than patients in Group C (t = 15.36, P < 0.001).Conclusions:The FDAE significantly reduces the need for awake intubation and improves the efficiency of the intubation process without comprising safety in patients with potential difficult mask ventilation and DI.Trial Registration:No. ChiCTR-TRC-11001418; http://www.gctr.org/cn/proj/show.aspx?proj=1562.

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