Episode 6: Difficult Airway Assessment

airway management Dec 01, 2019

Episode Summary

In this episode of the APEX Live Anesthesia Podcast, we talk about Difficult Airway Identification and the exams we use to help us recognize an airway that may be challenging. We also take a dive into what the different Airway Algorithms say about strategies for management.


What You'll Learn

  • What are the points for airway management?
  • Which airway assessment tools are best?
  • What are the various techniques for assessing for a difficult airway?
  • Does imaging have a role in difficult airway identification?
  • What do the different airway algorithms say about anticipated difficult airway management?
  • What are the points for airway management?


Mnemonics From This Episode


Airway Algorithms

  1. ASA Difficult Airway Algorithm
  2. Difficult Airway Society Algorithm
  3. Canadian Airway Focus Group


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Recommended Resources

  1. Heiner, JS. Airway Management. In Nurse Anesthesia. Nagelhout JJ & Elisha SM eds. 6th ed. 2017. Elsevier, St Louis, MO.
  2. Lee, A, et al. A systematic review (meta-analysis) of the accuracy of the Mallampati tests to predict the difficult airway. Anesth Analg. 2006 Jun;102(6):1867-78.
  3. Kiser M, et al. Accuracy of fingerbreadth measurements for thyromental distance estimates: a brief report. AANA J. 2011 Feb;79(1):15-8.
  4. Nørskov AK, et al. Effects of using the simplified airway risk index vs usual airway assessment on unanticipated difficult tracheal intubation - a cluster randomized trial with 64,273 participants. Br J Anaesth. 2016 May;116(5):680-9.
  5. Cattano D, et al. Anticipation of the difficult airway: preoperative airway assessment, an educational and quality improvement tool. Br J Anaesth 2013; 111: 276–85.
  6. Tsan SHE, et al. Comparison of Macintosh Laryngoscopy in Bed-up-Head-Elevated Position With GlideScope Laryngoscopy: A Randomized, Controlled, Noninferiority Trial. Anesth Analg. 2019 Jul 23.
  7. Finkelstein SE, et al. Virtual bronchoscopy for evaluation of airway disease. Thorac Surg Clin. 2004 Feb;14(1):79-86.
  8. Apfelbaum JL, et al. Practice guidelines for management of the difficult airway: an updated report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Management of the Difficult Airway. Anesthesiology. 2013 Feb;118(2):251-70.
  9. C. Frerk, et al. Difficult Airway Society 2015 guidelines for management of unanticipated difficult intubation in adults. Br J Anaesth. 2015 Dec; 115(6): 827–848.
  10. Law JA, et al. The difficult airway with recommendations for management--part 1--difficult tracheal intubation encountered in an unconscious/induced patient. Can J Anaesth. 2013 Nov;60(11):1089-118.


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APEX Anesthesia Review, LLC and APEX Live expressly disclaim any liability in connection with the use of any content in its podcasts, social media posts, and all other published content by any third party.

Podcast music by Eino Toivanen, kongano.com


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