Tricks For Intubating A Difficult Airway
Patients with respiratory failure requiring intubation are commonplace in the intensive care unit. If at all possible, an experienced anesthesia provider who likely has thousands of previous intubations should perform this procedure. The patient should be given well-performed bag/mask ventilation while the anesthesia team is being summoned.
However, occasionally, even an experienced intubater will use the following tricks to improve visualization of the airway, especially if a glide scope is not available at bedside.
1. Repositioning the head and neck.
2. Placing folded towels under the shoulders to increase neck extension.
3. Placing a laryngeal mask airway until a more experienced anesthesia is present.
4. Use of cricoid pressure.
5. Paralyzing the patient even in the setting of unresponsiveness.