Comparison of five video-assisted intubation devices by novice and expert laryngoscopists for use in the aeromedical evacuation environment

Matthew C. Wallace, SSgt Tyler Britton, Robbie Meek, Sharon Walsh-Hart, Col Todd E. Carter, Steven J. Lisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The critically ill or injured patient undergoing military medical evacuation may require emergent intubation. Intubation may be life-saving, but it carries risks. The novice or infrequent laryngoscopist has a distinct disadvantage because experience is critical for the rapid and safe establishment of a secured airway. This challenge is compounded by the austere environment of the back of an aircraft under blackout conditions. This study determined which of five different video-assisted intubation devices (VAIDs) was best suited for in-flight use by U.S. Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Teams by comparing time to successful intubation between novice and expert laryngoscopists under three conditions, Normal Airway Lights on (NAL), Difficult Airway Lights on (DAL) and Difficult Airway Blackout (DAB), using manikins on a standard military transport stanchion and the floor with a minimal amount of setup time and extraneous light emission. Methods: A convenience sample size of 40 participants (24 novices and 16 experts) attempted intubation with each of the 5 different video laryngoscopic devices on high-fidelity airway manikins. Time to tracheal intubation and number of optimization maneuvers used were recorded. Kruskal-Wallis testing determined significant differences between the VAIDs in time to intubation for each particular scenario. Devices with significant differences underwent pair-wise comparison testing using rank-sum analysis to further clarify the difference. Device assembly times, startup times and the amount of light emitted were recorded. Perceived ease of use was surveyed. Results: Novices were fastest with the Pentax AWS in all difficult airway scenarios. Experts recorded the shortest median times consistently using 3 of the 5 devices. The AWS was superior overall in 4 of the 6 scenarios tested. Experts and novices subjectively judged the GlideScope Ranger as easiest to use. The light emitted by all the devices was less than the USAF-issued headlamp. Conclusions: Novices intubated fastest with the Pentax AWS in all difficult airway scenarios. The GlideScope required the shortest setup time, and participants judged this device as the easiest to use. The GlideScope and AWS exhibited the two fastest total setup times. Both devices are suitable for in-flight use by infrequent and seasoned laryngoscopists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalMilitary Medical Research
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 14 2017

Keywords

  • Difficult airway
  • Expert
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Light emission
  • Military
  • Novice
  • Simulation
  • Video

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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