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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2010 Jan;54(1):55-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2009.02119.x. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Evaluation of the Video Intubation Unit in morbid obese patients.

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Anesthesiology Department, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.



Tracheal intubation may be more difficult in morbidly obese (MO) patients than in the non-obese. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinically if the use of the Video Intubation Unit (VIU), a video-optical intubation stylet, could improve the laryngoscopic view compared with the standard Macintosh laryngoscope in this specific population.


We studied 40 MO patients (body mass index >35 kg/m(2)) scheduled for bariatric surgery. Each patient had a conventional laryngoscopy and a VIU inspection. The laryngoscopic grades (LG) using the Cormack and Lehane scoring system were noted and compared. Thereafter, the patients were randomised to be intubated with one of the two techniques. In one group, the patients were intubated with the help of the VIU and in the control group, tracheal intubation was performed conventionally. The duration of intubation, as well as the minimal SpO(2) achieved during the procedure, were measured.


Patient characteristics were similar in both groups. Seventeen patients had a direct LG of 2 or 3 (no patient had a grade of 4). Out of these 17 patients, the LG systematically improved with the VIU and always attained grade 1 (P<0.0001). The intubation time was shorter within the VIU group, but did not attain significance. There was no difference in the SpO(2) post-intubation.


In MO patients, the use of the VIU significantly improves the visualisation of the larynx, thereby improving the intubation conditions.

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