Prehospital Glidescope video laryngoscopy for difficult airway management in a helicopter rescue program with anaesthetists

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The objective of this study was to analyze the prehospital use of a Glidescope video laryngoscope (GSVL) due to anticipated and unexpected difficult airway in a helicopter emergency medical service setting in which emergency physicians (EP) are experienced anesthetists. Retrospective observational study and survey of the experiences of EP were conducted for more than a 3-year period (July 2007–August 2010). In 1675 missions, 152 tracheal intubations (TI) were performed. GSVL was used in 23 cases (15%). A total of 17 patients presented with multiple traumas, including nine with cervical spine immobilization, three with burns, and three with nontraumatic diagnoses. Eight patients experienced previously failed TI with conventional laryngoscopy (five by nonhelicopter emergency medical service EP). In two patients, the EP required two attempts with GSVL to obtain a successful TI. Since the introduction of the GSVL, no other backup airway device was necessary. GSVL may be a valuable support instrument in the prehospital management of difficult airways in emergency patients.

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