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Minerva Anestesiologica 2012 June;78(6):725-8


language: English

Laryngeal tube as airway rescue device from prehospital tracheostomy: a case report

Giugni A. 1, Cavallo P. 1, Giuntoli L. 2, Coniglio C. 1

1 Department of Emergency-Urgency Medicine, Intensive Care Unit, Maggiore Hospital, Bologna, Italy; 2 Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Maggiore Hospital, Bologna, Italy


Airway management is a priority for the critically ill patient. The insertion of a cuffed tracheal tube is the best practice to obtain an airway control; however, it is associated with many practical problems in prehospital trauma care. When this common procedure is not available, it can be substituted by an extraglottic airway. We report the case of a 54-year-old victim of a multi-vehicle collision brought to the Emergency Department of a Level One Trauma Center by Emergency Medical Service. Initial evaluation revealed a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 and a fixed and midriatic right pupil, suggesting a severe head injury. The patient did not show any predictable sign of difficult intubation. After oxygen administration and cervical spine immobilization a rapid sequence induction was carried out and intubation failed after three attempts. Then a laryngeal tube (LT) was successfully placed and connected with a transport ventilator. The transfer to the hospital took 20 minutes with SpO2 level of 99% and end tidal carbon dioxide not above 42 mmHg. The patient was properly ventilated by the LT during the computed tomography scan investigations. Due to the impossibility of endotracheal intubation the patient underwent surgical tracheostomy as suggested by the ear nose throat surgeon consultant. This case suggests that LT could be an important alternative device for airway management in trauma patients after a failed tracheal intubation. LT is a precious tool to achieve good ventilation and oxygenation from the field to the operatory theatre.

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