AIRWAY VISUALIZATION – EXTERNAL “CEPHALIC” MANIPULATION

Here is a potential airway technique that may help with visualization: hold the laryngoscope in the left hand (the usual) but the right hand, instead of being at your side, is behind the patient’s head. You then move it around until you get the best view. Then you have an assistant hold the head in that spot.

 

A hospital in Southern California started doing that. The technique deserves some exploration. The work of Richard Levitan reminds us that the airway is most patent in the sniffing position. Extension does not really help but true sniffing position does. Sometimes you think you have enough and you need more.

 

I have not seen this technique studied but it probably deserves some attention.

 

TAKE HOME POINTS

-Consider external cephalic manipulation as an analogy to “external laryngeal manipulation” as a way of fine tuning the visualization during a tough intubation

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