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Last Updated 12/19/07
AirTraq Awake Intubation Video

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Awake AirTraq Intubation
The clinician may be confronted with special situations where the airway must be secured while the patient is spontaneously breathing and maintaining their own airway. Such cases include patients suspected or known to be difficult to intubate and ventilate or patients in whom a neurological exam is desired after intubation or prone positioning as may occur in the patient with a broken and unstable spine.

An intubation undertaken with a spontaneously breathing patient is often referred to as an “awake” intubation. However, some patients may be so sedated as to become unresponsive whereupon the intubation is more properly termed an “asleep, spontaneously breathing” intubation.

Before undertaking the intubation, the patient must be prepared for airway instrumentation. There are many methods for preparing the oral (and nasal) airway (antisialagogue, local anesthetic injections, nebulized local anesthesia, benzodiazepine, narcotic infusion, dexmetatomadine, transtracheal local, gargle and spit, spray-and-go through the scope).

This patient has a large paratracheal mass. He is 5’9” and 98 Kg. He was a Mall II class airway, 3 finger-breadth mouth opening and was able to prognath. He had an adequate hyoid-mental distance.

A nasal cannula with continuous O2 and CO2 monitoring was placed. His airway was prepared with glycopyrrolate (0.2 mg), midazolam 5 mg in divided doses and fentanyl 50 mcg, viscous lidocaine 2% gargle (3 min) and spit, and 10 mL topical lidocaine 4%.

This intubation is done while facing the patient thus reversing the usual orientation which is from the head of the bed. The patient is cooperative, opening his mouth upon request and the AirTraq is gently advanced. Some manipulation is necessary to find and then align the scope and ETT with the glottic opening. The application of cricoid pressure by the assistant allows the ETT to be advanced into the trachea. One may notice the condensation on the ETT wall with every exhalation.

The AIRTRAQ is a single-use rigid optical laryngoscope and requires a minimal mouth opening of 18 mm.

A battery operated low temperature LED light at the blade tip provides illumination for up to 90 minutes. The image is transmitted to a proximal viewfinder through a combination of lenses and a prism allowing visualization of the glottis and surrounding structures, and the tip of the tracheal tube.  For the inbuilt anti-fogging system to be effective, the LED must be turned on at least 30 seconds before use.

Any style of endotracheal tube of inner diameter sizes 7.0 mm through 8.5 mm can be used with the regular size and 6.0 to 7.5 mm for the planned small size (16 mm minimum mouth opening). An optional color video camera clips onto the proximal viewfinder and via a lightweight cable transmits to a display (such as a TV), a useful feature for teaching purposes.

These features likely make the AIRTRAQ a good airway management option for difficult airway scenarios where conventional direct laryngoscopy might prove to be difficult or dangerous: patients with anterior larynx, unstable cervical spine fracture, patients in the sitting position, upper body burns, trauma, TMJ immobility, and micrognathia


AirTraq Introduction