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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Alvis B. D. 1, King A. B. 1, Hester D. 2, Hughes C. G. 1, Higgins M. S. 2
1 Department Of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School Of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA;
2 Division Of Multi-Specialty Anesthesiology, Department Of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School Of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA
BACKGROUND: The flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope (FOB) is viewed as the gold standard device for awake intubation in the difficult airway. The newer rigid flexible laryngoscope (RIFL) was developed for similar indications. In this study we compare these two devices for management of potentially difficult airways after induction of general anesthesia.
METHODS: Adult surgical patients requiring endotracheal intubation and having a predicted difficult airway based on airway examination, BMI≥35, and/or history of prior difficult intubation were randomized to undergo endotracheal intubation with either the RIFL or FOB. Induction was performed in usual manner, and intubation was performed by providers proficient with both airway devices after induction of general anesthesia. The primary outcomes measured were intubation success, time to intubation, number of attempts, and the need for airway assist maneuvers. The lowest observed oxygen saturation and airway trauma were also recorded.
RESULTS: A total of 41 patients were enrolled, with 20 randomized to each group and 1 withdrawal. Intubation was successful in all patients with both devices. The median time for successful intubation was significantly shorter in the RIFL group compared to the FOB group (49 vs. 64 seconds; P=0.048). Airway assist maneuvers were required in 2 (10%) intubations with the RIFL compared to 16 (80%) intubations with the FOB (P<0.001). There were no significant differences in lowest oxygen saturation or airway trauma.
CONCLUSION: The RIFL required significantly less time and fewer airway assist maneuvers for successful endotracheal intubation compared to FOB when used by experienced providers in patients with anticipated difficult airways.