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Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2011 Jul;28(7):506-10. doi: 10.1097/EJA.0b013e328344b4e1.

The use of ultrasound to guide time-critical cannula tracheotomy when anterior neck airway anatomy is unidentifiable.

Author information

1
Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, Hampshire, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Transtracheal or transcricothyroid placement of a cannula is a practice used in a number of aspects of airway management in anaesthesia and intensive care. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether the use of ultrasound will facilitate cannula placement in a time-critical situation in patients with difficult anterior neck airway anatomy.

METHOD:

Fifty anaesthetists were randomised to either ultrasound-guided or conventional unguided attempts, at cannula insertion into a model simulating a patient with unidentifiable anterior neck anatomy. Endpoints were the success, and time to success, of cannula placement.

RESULTS:

There was a significant increase in success rate (83 vs. 43%, P = 0.011) and a significant decrease in time to successful placement (median time to successful cannulation 57 vs. 110 s, P = 0.008) using ultrasound guided compared to unguided cannula placement.

CONCLUSION:

If a 'can't intubate, can't oxygenate' scenario occurs in a patient with unidentifiable anterior neck airway anatomy in a location where an ultrasound machine is immediately available, we recommend that consideration is given to the use of ultrasound-guided cannula tracheotomy as the first-line rescue technique.

PMID:
21423020
DOI:
10.1097/EJA.0b013e328344b4e1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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