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Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2007 Feb;54(2):128-31.

[Airway management in a man with ankylosing spondylitis].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Anestesiología, Reanimación y Terapéutica del Dolor, Institut Universitari Dexeus, Barcelona.


We report a case of difficult airway management in a 41-year-old man with ankylosing spondylitis who was scheduled for total left hip replacement surgery. After several failed attempts to achieve regional anesthesia, we converted to general anesthesia with orotracheal intubation using a fiberoptic bronchoscope. Ankylosing spondylitis leads to fibrosis, ossification, and ankylosis along the spinal column and sacroiliac articulations. Cervical column and atlantooccipital articulation mobility are reduced and in severe cases the cervical vertebrae become fixed in a flexed position. This portion of the spine is also the most susceptible to fracture, particularly in hyperextension, an event that could lead to damage to the cervical spinal cord during maneuvers to manage the airway. Patients with this condition may also have temporomandibular joint involvement, further complicating airway management. We report the case of a patient with ankylosing spondylitis with fixation along the entire spine. The airway was managed by intubation with a fiberoptic bronchoscope. Spontaneous ventilation was maintained during the maneuver, and sedation was achieved with perfusion of remifentanil as the only anesthetic agent following failure of intradural anesthesia.

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