BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether the use of two different video laryngoscopes [direct-coupled interface (DCI) video laryngoscope and GlideScope] may improve laryngoscopic view and intubation success compared with the conventional direct Macintosh laryngoscope (direct laryngoscopy) in patients with a predicted difficult airway. METHODS: One hundred and twenty adult patients undergoing elective minor surgery requiring general anaesthesia and endotracheal intubation presenting with at least one predictor for a difficult airway were enrolled after Institutional Review Board approval and written informed consent was obtained. Repeated laryngoscopy was performed using direct laryngoscope, DCI laryngoscope and GlideScope in a randomized sequence before patients were intubated. RESULTS: Both video laryngoscopes showed significantly better laryngoscopic view (according to Cormack and Lehane classification as modified by Yentis and Lee = C&L) than direct laryngoscope. Laryngoscopic view C&L >or= III was measured in 30% of patients when using direct laryngoscopy, and in only 11% when using the DCI laryngoscope (P <>or= III: 1.6%) than both direct (P <>or= III) could be achieved significantly more often with the GlideScope (94.4%) than with the DCI laryngoscope (63.8%) Laryngoscopy time did not differ between instruments [median (range): direct laryngoscope, 13 (5-33) s; DCI laryngoscope, 14 (6-40) s; GlideScope, 13 (5-34) s]. In contrast, tracheal intubation needed significantly more time with both video laryngoscopes [DCI laryngoscope, 27 (17-94) s, and GlideScope, 33 (18-68) s, P less than 0.01] than with the direct laryngoscope [22.5 (12-49) s]. Intubation failed in four cases (10%) using the direct laryngoscope and in one case (2.5%) each using the DCI laryngoscope and the GlideScope. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the video laryngoscope and GlideScope in particular may be useful instruments in the management of the predicted difficult airway.
With the advanced airway debate comes a need for solutions. Obviously increased training and QI/QA are at the top of the list. Another option is the Glidescope. This device is just one of a few video laryngoscopy devices that has shown phenomenal results. They are an expensive option, but probably cheaper than malpractice payouts. There is a ton of research out there regarding these devices. I have seen them used in the ER with great success, and I believe our helicopter has acquired one. Check out the video at the bottom.
Keep in mind that I am not the biggest advocate of prehospital intubation. Not until we improve our success rates and recognition of dislodged tubes. I believe laryngeal tubes and BVMs are the safer alternative as of yet. With that in mind, endotracheal intubation is the best way to secure an airway when performed adequately.