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Anesthesiology. 2006 Feb;104(2):249-54.

Lightwand tracheal intubation with and without muscle relaxation.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Carretera de Canyet s/n, 08916 Badalona, Spain.



Lightwand tracheal intubation is a suitable technique for patients who are difficult to intubate but who are receiving effective ventilation. The effect of muscle relaxants on the efficacy of lightwand intubation has not yet been evaluated. The authors conducted a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the effectiveness and incidence of complications of lightwand tracheal intubation performed during general anesthesia with and without the use of a muscle relaxant in patients with apparently normal airway anatomy.


One hundred seventy-six patients who required orotracheal intubation were prospectively included. Anesthesia was administered using propofol (2 mg/kg, then 3 mg . kg (-1). h(-1)) and remifentanil (1 microg/kg, then 0.3 microg . kg(-1) . min(-1)). Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups (n = 88 for each) to receive rocuronium 0.6 mg/kg or saline intravenously. Lightwand orotracheal intubation (Trachlight; Laerdal Medical Inc., Armonk, NY) was attempted after 3 min. The authors recorded the number of successful intubations, the number of attempts and their duration, and events during the procedure.


The failure rate of lightwand intubation was 12% in the placebo group and 2% in the rocuronium group (P = 0.021). Patients in the placebo group received more multiple intubation attempts (P < 0.001), required a greater intubation time (77 +/- 65 vs. 52 +/- 31 s; P = 0.002) and experienced a greater incidence of events during intubation (61 vs. 0%; P < 0.001) than patients in the rocuronium group.


The use of muscle relaxants in patients with apparently normal airways is associated with a lower failure rate, decreased intubation time, and fewer attempts when performing lightwand orotracheal intubation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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