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Anesthesiology. 1996 May;84(5):1101-6.

Fiberoptic intubation using anesthetized, paralyzed, apneic patients. Results of a resident training program.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



There is no consensus about the best way to teach fiberoptic intubation. This study assesses the effectiveness of a training program in which novice anesthetic residents routinely were taught fiberoptic tracheal intubation of anesthetized, paralyzed, apneic patients.


Eight inexperienced anesthetic residents learned fiberoptic and conventional tracheal intubation simultaneously during their first 4 months of training. All intubations were performed using general anesthesia and muscle paralysis. Of these intubations, 223 (23%) were fiberoptic and 743 (77%) were laryngoscopic. Subsequently, their intubation skills with the two techniques were studied in a prospective, single-blind randomized trial involving 131 elective patients. Intubation times, SpO2, ETCO2, hemodynamic changes on intubation, and complications were recorded for 71 fiberoptic and 57 laryngoscopic intubations.


There were two failures of the rigid and one failure of the fiberoptic technique due to inability to intubate within 180 s. In cases of failure, the tracheas were intubated successfully after mask ventilation by the alterative technique. No hypoxemia or hypercarbia occurred in any patient. There were no differences in hemodynamic indexes nor incidence of sore throat or hoarseness between the two groups. Mean intubation times were 56 +/- 24 s (mean +/- SD) for fiberoptic and 34 +/- 10 s (mean +/- SD) for laryngoscopic (P < 0.001).


Novices taught fiberoptic intubation and rigid laryngoscopic intubation under similar conditions, with similar volumes of experience, learn both techniques well. The safety and effectiveness of this training regimen commend it for inclusion in any residency program.

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