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Crico: Manque d'expérience/Entraînement

Emergency front-of-neck airway by ENT surgeons and residents: A dutch national survey


Ce travail hollandais met en avant le caractère non anecdotique des accès chirurgicaux aux voies aériennes. Pour les chirurgiens ORL hollandais, il s'agit essentiellement de trachéotomies. Le faible recours à la coniotomie s'explique surtout par le manque d'entraînement et d'équipements spécifiques. L'article souligne l'importance des démarches d'acquisition et de maintien des compétences, ce qui ne doit pas nous étonner. Comme pour les chirurgiens ORL le besoin d'un programme structuré de formations à l'accès aux voies aériennes en condition de combat est un impératif.



ENT surgeons and anesthesiologists work closely together in managing challenging airway cases. Sharing knowledge, experiences, and expectations interdisciplinary is essential in order to facilitate decision-making and adequate management in emergency front-of-neck airway cases.


A survey was performed, to analyze level of experience, technique of preference, training, knowledge of material and protocols, and self-efficacy scores of Dutch ENT surgeons and residents in performing an urgent or emergency front-of-neck airway.


Within one year (January 2014-2015), 25.7% of the 257 respondents had performed an urgent or emergency front-of-neck airway. Of all reported emergency front-of-neck airways (N = 30), 80% were managed by tracheotomy. In future emergency front-of-neck airway cases, 74% stated cricothyrotomy would be their technique of preference. The majority would choose an uncuffed large-bore cannula technique. Post-academic hands-on training was attended by 42% of respondents. Self-efficacy scores were highest for surgical tracheotomy, and higher when trained or experienced. In case of an emergency scenario, 8.6% would not perform a front-of-neck airway themselves.



The main reasons for reluctance to start in general were lack of experience and lack of training. Reported items for improvement were mainly the development of a protocol and training.


The chance of encountering an airway emergency scenario requiring front-of-neck airway is realistic. There is inconsistency between advised technique, technique of preference and technique actually performed by ENT surgeons. This study shows that there is both a need and desire for improvement in training and organization of care. Interdisciplinary guidelines and education is needed and could eventually safe lives.

| Tags : airway


Crico: Incisez VERTICAL et LARGE

Emergency cricothyroidotomy: an observational study to estimate optimal incision position and length



A vertical incision is recommended for cricothyroidotomy when the anatomy is impalpable, but no evidence-based guideline exists regarding optimum site or length. The Difficult Airway Society guidelines, which are based on expert opinion, recommend an 80–100 mm vertical caudad to cephalad incision in the extended neck position. However, the guidelines do not advise the incision commencement point. We sought to determine the minimum incision length and commencement point above the suprasternal notch required to ensure that the cricothyroid membrane would be accessible within its margins.


We measured using ultrasound, in 80 subjects (40 males and 40 females) without airway pathology, the distance between the suprasternal notch and the cricothyroid membrane, in the neutral and extended neck positions. We assessed the inclusion of the cricothyroid membrane within theoretical incisions of 0–100 mm in length made at 10 mm intervals above the suprasternal notch.


In 80 subjects (40 males and 40 females), the distance ranged from 27 to 105 mm. Movement of the cricothyroid membrane on transition from the neutral to extended neck position varied from 15 mm caudad to 27 mm cephalad.

Crico incision.jpeg

The minimum incision required in the extended position was 70 mm in males and 80 mm in females, commencing 30 mm above the suprasternal notch.



An 80 mm incision commencing 30 mm above the suprasternal notch would include all cricothyroid membrane locations in the extended position in patients without airway pathology, which is in keeping with the Difficult Airway Society guidelines recommended incision length.

| Tags : airway


Intubation dans le noir: Plutôt Poncho que JVN

A Study on the Tactical Safety of Endotracheal Intubation Under Darkness.


Strict blackout discipline is extremely important for all military units. To be able to effectively determine wound characteristics and perform the necessary interventions at nighttime, vision and light restrictions can be mitigated through the use of tactical night vision goggles (NVGs). The lamp of the classical laryngoscope (CL) can be seen with the naked eye; infrared light, on the other hand, cannot be perceived without the use of NVGs. The aim of the study is to evaluate the safety of endotracheal intubation (ETI) procedures in the darkunder tactically safe conditions with modified laryngoscope (ML) model.


We developed an ML model by changing the standard lamp on a CL with an infrared light-emitting diode lamp to obtain a tool which can be used to perform ETI under night conditions in combination with NVGs. We first evaluated the safety of ETI procedures in prehospital conditions under darkness by using both the CL and the ML for the study, and then researched the procedures and methods by which ETI procedure could be performed in the dark under tactically safe conditions. In addition, to better ensure light discipline in the field of combat, we also researched the benefits, from a light discipline standpoint, of using the poncho liner (PL) and of taking advantage of the oropharyngeal region during ETIs performed by opening the laryngoscope blades directly in the mouth and using a cover. During the ETI procedures performed on the field, two experienced combatant staff simulated the enemy by determining whether the light from the two different types of laryngoscope could be seen at 100-m intervals up to 1,500 m.


In all scenarios, performing observations with an NVG was more advantageous for the enemy than with the naked eye. The best measure that can be taken against this threat by the paramedic is to ensure tactical safety by having an ML and by opening the ML inside the mouth with the aid of a PL. The findings of the study are likely to shed light on the tactical safety of ETI performed with NVGs under darkness.


Considering this finding, we still strongly recommend that it would be relatively safer to open the ML blade inside the mouth and to perform the procedures under a PL. In chaotic environments where it might become necessary to provide civilian health services for humanitarian aid purposes (Red Crescent, Red Cross, etc.) without NVGs, we believe that it would be relatively safer to open the CL blade inside the mouth and to perform the procedures under a PL.


Conio: Echo, cela se confirme

Ultrasound Is Superior to Palpation in Identifying the Cricothyroid Membrane in Subjects with Poorly Defined Neck Landmarks: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Siddiqui N1, et Al. Anesthesiology. 2018 Sep 26.



BACKGROUND: Success of a cricothyrotomy is dependent on accurate identification of the cricothyroid membrane. The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of ultrasonography versus external palpation in localizing the cricothyroid membrane.


In total, 223 subjects with abnormal neck anatomy who were scheduled for neck computed-tomography scan at University Health Network hospitals in Toronto, Canada, were randomized into two groups: external palpation and ultrasound. The localization points of the cricothyroid membrane determined by ultrasonography or external palpation were compared to the reference midpoint (computed-tomography point) of the cricothyroid membrane by a radiologist who was blinded to group allocation. Primary outcome was the accuracy in identification of the cricothyroid membrane, which was measured by digital ruler in millimeters from the computed-tomography point to the ultrasound point or external-palpation point. Success was defined as the proportion of accurate attempts within a 5-mm distance from the computed-tomography point to the ultrasound point or external-palpation point.


The percentage of accurate attempts was 10-fold greater in the ultrasound than external-palpation group (81% vs. 8%; 95% CI, 63.6 to 81.3%; P < 0.0001). The mean (SD) distance measured from the external-palpation to computed-tomography point was five-fold greater than the ultrasound to the computed-tomography point (16.6 ± 7.5 vs. 3.4 ± 3.3 mm; 95% CI, 11.67 to 14.70; P < 0.0001).

US Crico.jpeg

Analysis demonstrated that the risk ratio of inaccurate localization of the cricothyroid membrane was 9.14-fold greater with the external palpation than with the ultrasound (P < 0.0001). There were no adverse events observed.


In subjects with poorly defined neck landmarks, ultrasonography is more accurate than external palpation in localizing the cricothyroid membrane.

| Tags : airway, coniotomie


Coniotomie: Control-Cric pas optimal

A Randomized Comparative Assessment of Three Surgical Cricothyrotomy Devices on Airway Mannequins.

Dorsam J et Al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2018 Sep 1:1-30


La réalisation d'une coniotomie peut se faire par voie percutanée avec mandrin souple ou chirurgical, aidée ou pas d'une bougie. L'armée américaine recommande dans sa dernière révision du TCCC le recours à un dispositif appelé control-kit. Les données sur lesquelles reposent une telle proposition sont minces. Ce travail n'est clairement pas en sa faveur, du moins sur le modèle de moulage utilisé pour l'étude. La référence reste donc la technique chirurgicale.



Airway obstruction is the second leading cause of preventable battlefield death, at least in part because surgical cricothyrotomy (SC) failure rates remain unacceptably high. Ideally, SC should be a rapid, simple, easily-learned, and reliably-performed procedure. Currently, Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) has approved three SC devices: The Tactical CricKit® (TCK), Control-Cric™(CC), and Bougie-assisted Technique (BAT). However, no previous studies have compared these devices in application time, application success, user ratings, and user preference.


United States Navy Corpsmen (N = 25) were provided 15 minutes of standardized instruction, followed by hands-on practice with each device on airway mannequins. Participants then performed SC with each of the three devices in a randomly assigned sequence. In this within-subjects design, application time, application success, participant ratings, and participant preference data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA, regression, and non-parametric statistics at p < 0.05.


Application time for CC (M = 184 sec, 95% CI 144-225 sec) was significantly slower than for BAT (M = 135 sec, 95% CI 113-158 sec, p < 0.03) and TCK (M = 117 sec, 95% CI 93-142 sec, p < 0.005). Success was significantly greater for BAT (76%) than for TCK (40%, p < 0.02) and trended greater than CC (48%, p = 0.07).

Control Kit trial.jpeg

CC was rated significantly lower than TCK and BAT in ease of application, effectiveness, and reliability (each p < 0.01). User preference was significantly (p < 0.01) higher for TCK (58%) and BAT (42%) than for CC (0%). Improved CC blade design was the most common user suggestion.


While this study was limited by the use of mannequins in a laboratory environment, present results indicate that none of these devices was ideal for performing SC. Based on slow application times, low success rates, and user feedback, the Control-Cric™ cannot be recommended until improvements are made to the blade design.

| Tags : airway

Airway Ultrasound

Upper Airway US.jpeg

Clic sur l'image pour accéder au docment

| Tags : airway


Coniotomie: Ne pas endommager le mandrin

Front-of-neck access and bougie trapping

L'insertion d'une sonde d'intubation guidée par un mandrin béquillé au travers de la membrane crico-thyroïdienne a été récemment mise en avant (1) Malgré sa simplicité elle apparaît ne pas être indemme de difficulté notamment la possibilité de dommage causé au mandrin par la lame de bistouri lésion qui empêcherait le retrait du mandrin.

Crico_Escmannn coupé.jpg

| Tags : airway, coniotomie


Cricothyrotomie: Chirurgicale et tous les ans ++

A bench study comparing between scalpel-bougie technique and cannula-to-Melker technique in emergency cricothyroidotomy in a porcine model

Chang SS et Al. Korean Journal of Anesthesiology 2018;71(4):289-295.

Background: The ideal emergency cricothyroidotomy technique remains a topic of ongoing debate. This study aimed to compare the cannula-to-Melker technique with the scalpel-bougie technique and determine whether yearly training in cricothyroidotomy techniques is sufficient for skill retention.

Methods: We conducted an observational crossover bench study to compare the cannula-to-Melker with the scalpel-bougie technique in a porcine tracheal model. Twenty-eight anesthetists participated. The primary outcome was time taken for device insertion. Secondary outcomes were first-pass success rate, incidence of tracheal trauma, and technique preference. We also compared the data on outcome measures with the data obtained in a similar workshop a year ago.

Results: The scalpel-bougie technique was significantly faster than the cannula-to-Melker technique for cricothyroidotomy (median time of 45.2 s vs. 101.3 s; P = 0.001). Both techniques had 100% success rate within two attempts; there were no significant differences in the first-pass success rates and incidence of tracheal wall trauma (P > 0.999 and P = 0.727, respectively) between them. The relative risks of inflicting tracheal wall trauma after a failed cricothyroidotomy attempt were 6.9 (95% CI 1.5–31.1), 2.3 (95% CI 0.3–20.7) and 3.0 (95% CI 0.3–25.9) for the scalpel-bougie, cannula-cricothyroidotomy, and Melker-Seldinger airway, respectively. The insertion time and incidence of tracheal wall trauma were lower when the present data were compared with data from a similar workshop conducted the previous year.

Conclusions: This study supports the use of a scalpel-bougie technique for cricothyroidotomy by anesthetists and advocates a yearly training program for skill retention


Coniotomie: Au moins 15 ml

Surgical cricothyrotomy: the tracheal-tube dilemma.

L'emploi de tube trachéo d'au moins 5 mm voire 6 mm est requis pour permettre une ventilation alvéolaire optimale par coniotomie. Ce diamètre est adapté à celui de la membrane cricoïdienne. Cependant les auteurs du document présenté mettent en avant une taille insuffisante du ballonet qui ne permettrait pas une occlusion trachéale correcte. Une réponse est faite à leur interrogation. Il faut gonfler le ballonet avec au moins 15 ml d'air.

Editor—In a recent issue of the British Journal of Anaesthesia, Higgs and colleagues1 published guidelines for the management of tracheal intubation in critically ill adults. I appreciate the authors' successful efforts for implementation of comprehensive guidelines to improve airway management and patient safety in the intensive-care-unit environment. In accordance with current evidence and expert opinion, the authors recommend an open surgical approach (surgical cricothyrotomy) for emergency front-of-neck access in adult patients. They highlight the benefits of this technique: it is fast, reliable, has a high success rate, and provides definitive access to the airway. After incision of the cricothyroid membrane, insertion of a tracheal tube via a bougie stylet is advocated. The use of tracheal tubes with an inner diameter (ID) of 5.0 or 6.0 mm is advised, presumably because of the dimensions of the cricothyroid membrane.

Insertion of ‘standard’ tracheal tubes with an ID of 5.0 or 6.0 mm generates a dilemma of potentially limiting the benefits of the surgical technique. The cuff diameter of a tracheal tube of ID 6.0 mm with a high-volume low-pressure cuff is 18–19 mm, or about 13 mm in a tracheal tube of ID 5.0 mm. The upper limits of normal for coronal and sagittal diameters of the trachea in men of 20–79 yr average 25–27 mm, and in women 21–23 mm. The disparity between the diameters of the inflated cuff and the trachea potentially generates a leak.

Insufflation of oxygen via a standard tracheal tube should provide sufficient oxygenation. But, further gains of a surgical approach with tracheal-tube insertion, such as confirmation of success by waveform capnography, protection against aspiration, and application of PEEP, are possibly impeded because of insufficient cuff seal. Thus, are standard tracheal tubes superior for this challenging scenario?

Given its advantages, surgical cricothyrotomy is the recommended technique in the ‘cannot intubate, cannot oxygenate’ scenario. To overcome the problem of leakage caused by the mismatch of small tracheal-tube cuff and tracheal diameters, we equip all cricothyrotomy kits for adults with micro-laryngeal tubes (MLTs) ID 5.0 and 6.0 mm (Rüsch® micro-laryngeal endotracheal tube; Teleflex Medical GmbH, Belp, Switzerland). Designed for laryngeal or tracheal surgery and patients with tracheal stenosis, these tubes offer smaller inner (5.0 or 6.0 mm) and outer (7.3 and 8.7 mm) diameters to provide better visualisation and access to the surgical site. But, the cuff diameter averages 31 mm, about the cuff diameter of a standard ID 8.0 mm tube. It is possible to place an ID 5.0 or 6.0 mm tube through the incision in the cricoid membrane, whilst simultaneously achieving a sufficient seal in adults, enabling positive pressure ventilation, sufficient expiration, capnography, etc. We have used this successfully in mannequin tests and in emergencies. I recommend routine use of MLTs instead of standard tracheal tubes for surgical cricothyrotomy procedures in adults, and encourage the authors to take these considerations into account for future updates of their excellent guidelines.



Response to 'Surgical cricothyroidotomy-the tracheal tube dilemma'.



Tracheal tube Cuff diameters inflated using different volumes of air, (mm)-including diameter stated on packaging

Table 1Tracheal tube Cuff diameters inflated using different volumes of air, (mm)-including diameter stated on packaging
Tube inner diameter (mm) Stated cuff diameter (mm) 12 ml inflated (mm) 15 ml inflated (mm) 20 ml inflated (mm)
5.0 18 25 26 27
5.5 21 25 27 30
6.0 22 26 28 30


Control Cric: Pas mieux que la conio chirurgicale

A randomized cross-over study comparing surgical cricothyrotomy techniques by combat medics using a synthetic cadaver model

Schauer SG et Al. Am J Emerg Med. 2017 Nov 27. pii: S0735-6757(17)30972-5
Un travail qui compare trois techniques de coniotomie (chirurgicale/QuickTrach II/Control Cric). Les auteurs ne mettent pas en évidence de différence flagrante bien qu'ils émettent une préférence très claire pour le QuickTrach II. La coniotomie chirurgicale est celle avec laquelle le moins d'échec est rencontré. On est surpris des résultats très en retrait obtenus avec le Control-Cric qui est le dispositif retenu en première ligne par l'armée américaine. Dans leur discussion, plus que le matériel c'est l'entraînement qui leur paraît déterminant.

Cricothyrotomy is a complex procedure with a high rate of complications including failure to cannulate and injury to adjacent anatomy. The Control-Cric™ System and QuickTrach II™ represent two novel devices designed to optimize success and minimize complications with this procedure. This study compares these two devices against a standard open surgical technique.


We conducted a randomized crossover study of United States Army combat medics using a synthetic cadaver model. Participants performed a surgical cricothyrotomy using the standard open surgical technique, Control-Cric™ System, and QuickTrach II™ device in a random order. The primary outcome was time to successful cannulation. The secondary outcome was first-attempt success. We also surveyed participants after performing the procedures as to their preferences.


Of 70 enrolled subjects, 65 completed all study procedures. Of those that successfully cannulated, the mean times to cannulation were comparable for all three methods: standard 51.0s (95% CI 45.2-56.8), QuickTrach II™ 39.8s (95% CI 31.4-48.2) and the Cric-Control™ 53.6 (95% CI 45.7-61.4). Cannulation failure rates were not significantly different: standard 6.2%, QuickTrach II™ 13.9%, Cric-Control™ 18.5% (p=0.106). First pass success rates were also similar (93.4%, 91.1%, 88.7%, respectively, p=0.670). Of respondents completing the post-study survey, a majority (52.3%) preferred the QuickTrach II™ device.


We identified no significant differences between the three cricothyrotomy techniques with regards to time to successful cannulation or first-pass success.

| Tags : airway


Voies aériennes: L'expérience US OIF/OEF

 Prehospital Airway Procedures Performed in Trauma Patients by Ground Forces in Afghanistan.
Blackburn MB et Al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2018 Mar 8. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001866
Une analyse complète de toutes les procédures de gestion des voies aériennes faites par les US dans les conflits afghan et Irakien. Une donnée à intégrer pour interpréter ces résultats est le fait que les délais d'évacuations très courts impactent forcément le raisonnement. Cette problématique demeure de première importance quand les délais d'évacuation sont long, comme ce qui est observé actuellement dans le sahel ressemblant finalement assez au monde de la médecine ruurale au sens australien.


Airway management is of critical importance in combat trauma patients. Airway compromise is the second leading cause of potentially survivable death on the battlefield and accounts for approximately 1 in 10 preventable deaths. Reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars indicate 4-7% incidence of airway interventions on casualties transported to combat hospitals. The goal of this study was to describe airway management in the prehospital combat setting and document airway devices used on the battlefield.


This study is a retrospective review of casualties that required a prehospital life-saving airway intervention during combat operations in Afghanistan. We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR) that was linked to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DoDTR) for outcome data for the time period between January 2013 and September 2014.


705 total trauma patients were included, 16.9% required a prehospital airway management procedure. There were 132 total airway procedures performed, including 83 (63.4%) endotracheal intubations and 26 (19.8%) nasopharyngeal airway placements. Combat medics were involved in 48 (36.4%) of airway cases and medical officers in 73 (55.3%). Most (94.2%) patients underwent airway procedures due to battle injuries caused by explosion or gunshot wounds.


Casualties requiring airway management were more severely injured and less likely to survive as indicated by injury severity score, responsiveness level, Glascow coma score, and outcome.


Percentages of airway interventions more than tripled from previous reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These changes are significant and further study is needed to determine the causes. Casualties requiring airway interventions sustained more severe injuries and experienced lower survival than patients who did not undergo an airway procedure, findings suggested in previous reports.


Airway: Prévention des complications

Capture d’écran_2018-02-11_00-03-36.jpg

Clic sur 'image pour accéder au document

| Tags : airway


Membrane Cricoïdienne: Histoire de hauteur

The height of the cricothyroid membrane on computed tomography scans in trauma patients

Nutbeam T. et Al. Anaesthesia. 2017 May 2. doi: 10.1111/anae.13905.


Un travail très intéressant qui met en avant le fait que la hauteur de la membrane cricoïdienne est moindre que ce que l'on pensait, qu'elle est en fait peu dépendante des conditions d'extension du cou et qu'une canule de 6 mm n'est pas celle qui sera insérée le plus facilement. 



Emergency cricothyrotomy is a common feature in all difficult airway algorithms. It is the final step following a ‘can’t intubate, can’t oxygenate’ scenario. It is rarely performed and has a significant failure rate. There is variation in the reported size of the cricothyroid membrane, especially across population groups. Procedural failure may result from attempting to pass a device with too large an external diameter through the cricothyroid membrane. We aimed to determine the maximum height of the cricothyroid membrane in a UK trauma population. Electronic callipers were used to measure the maximum height of the cricothyroid membrane on 482 reformatted trauma computed tomography scans, 377 (78.2%) of which were in male patients. The mean (SD) height of the cricothyroid membrane, as independently measured by two radiologists, was 7.89 (2.21) mm and 7.88 (2.22) mm in male patients, and 6.00 (1.76) mm and 5.92 (1.71) mm in female patients. The presence of concurrent tracheal intubation or cervical spine immobilisation was found not to have a significant effect on cricothyroid membrane height.

Device External diameter; mm Proportion of study population in whom the mean cricothyroid membrane height > external diameter of device
6.0 mm internal diameter tracheal tube 8.0 36.2%
5.0 mm internal diameter tracheal tube 6.7 60.5%
4.0 mm internal diameter tracheal tube 5.6 77.6%
3.0 mm internal diameter tracheal tube 4.2 93.2%
Shiley tracheostomy 7.5 mm internal diameter 10.8 7.7%
Melker cricothyrotomy set 8.2 34.6%
TracheoQuick cricothyrotomy set 5.0 86.5%

The cricothyroid membrane height in the study population was much smaller than that previously reported.Practitioners encountering patients who may require an emergency surgical airway should be aware of these data. Rescue airway equipment with variety of external diameters should be immediately available.

| Tags : airway


Crico avec un opinel ? Possible

Bystander cricothyroidotomy with household devices - A fresh cadaveric feasibility study.


In various motion pictures, medical TV shows and internet chatrooms, non-medical devices were presented as tools for life-saving cricothyroidotomies. However, there is uncertainty about whether it is possible for a bystander to perform a cricothyroidotomy and maintain gas exchange using improvised household items. This study examines the ability of bystanders to carry out an emergency cricothyroidotomy in fresh human cadavers using only a pocket knife and a ballpoint pen.


Two commonly available pens and five different pocket knives were used. Ten participants with no or only basic anatomical knowledge had to choose one of the pens and one of the knives and were asked to perform a cricothyroidotomy as quickly as possible after a short introduction. Primary successful outcome was a correct placement of the pen barrel and was determined by the thoracic lifting in a mouth-to-pen resuscitation.


Eight (80%) participants performed a successful approach to the upper airway with a thoracic lifting at the end. Five participants performed a cricothyroidotomy and three performed an unintentional tracheotomy. Injuries to muscles and cartilage were common, but no major vascular damage was seen in the post-procedural autopsy. However, mean time in the successful group was 243s.


In this cadaveric model, bystanders with variable medical knowledge were able to establish an emergency cricothyroidotomy in 80% of the cases only using a pocketknife and a ballpoint pen. No major complications (particularly injuries of arterial blood vessels or the oesophagus) occurred. Although a pocket knife and ballpoint pen cricothyroidotomy seem a very extreme procedure for a bystander, the results of our study suggest that it is a feasible option in an extreme scenario. For a better outcome, the anatomical landmarks of the neck and the incision techniques should be taught in emergency courses.

| Tags : airway


Coniotomie chirurgicale: Spécialiste ? Non, mais formé spécifiquement OUI

The success of battlefield surgical airway insertion in severely injured military patients: a UK perspective.



The insertion of a surgical airway in the presence of severe airway compromise is an uncommon occurrence in everyday civilian practice. In conflict, the requirement for insertion of a surgical airway is more common. Recent military operations in Afghanistan resulted in large numbers of severely injured patients, and a significant proportion required definitive airway management through the insertion of a surgical airway.


To examine the procedural success and survival rate to discharge from a military hospital over an 8-year period.


A retrospective database and chart review was conducted, using the UK Joint Theatre Trauma Registry and the Central Health Records Library. Patients who underwent surgical airway insertion by UK medical personnel from 2006 to 2014 were included. Procedural success, demographics, Injury Severity Score, practitioner experience and patient survival data were collected. Descriptive statistics were used for data comparison, and statistical significance was defined as p<0.05.


86 patients met the inclusion criterion and were included in the final analysis. The mean patient age was 25 years, (SD 5), with a median ISS of 62.5 (IQR 42). 79 (92%) of all surgical airways were successfully inserted. 7 (8%) were either inserted incorrectly or failed to perform adequately. 80 (93%) of these procedures were performed either by combat medical technicians or General Duties Medical Officers (GDMOs) at the point of wounding or Role 1. 6 (7%) were performed by the Medical Emergency Response Team. 21 (24%) patients survived to hospital discharge.


Surgical airways can be successfully performed in the most hostile of environments with high success rates by combat medical technicians and GDMOs. These results compare favourably with US military data published from the same conflict.



| Tags : airway, coniotomie


Conio: Apprendre 1 h, mieux que rien mais pas assez

Self-directed simulation-based training of emergency cricothyroidotomy: a route to lifesaving skills.

Melchiors J et Al. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Jul 5. [Epub ahead of print]
The emergency cricothyroidotomy (EC) is a critical procedure. The high cost of failures increases the demand for evidence-based training methods. The aim of this study was to present and evaluate self-directed video-guided simulation training. Novice doctors were given an individual 1-h simulation training session. One month later, an EC on a cadaver was performed. All EC's were video recorded. An assessment tool was used to rate performance. Performance was compared with a pass/fail level for the EC. We found a high reliability, based on Pearson's r (0.88), and a significant progression of skill during training (p < 0.001). Eleven out of 14 succeeded in creating an airway on the cadaver in 64 s (median, range 39-86 s), but only four achieved a passing score. Our 1-h training protocol successfully raised the competence level of novice doctors; however, the training did not ensure that all participants attained proficiency.

| Tags : airway


Conio: Et encore pour la technique chirurgicale

Surgicric 2: A comparative bench study with two established emergency cricothyroidotomy techniques in a porcine model.

Bien que les techniques percutanées faisant appel soient utilisées de préférence par les médecins anetshésistes, il faut se résoudre à une certitude: La coniotomie chirurgicale est plus sûre et efficinete. Ce travail en est une preuve de plus. Tout particulièrement les taux de lésions de la paroi postérieure est le plus faible et il n'y a aucun échec de la technique. Un bistouri, une canule, et un mandrin d'eschmann pour tuteur suffisent.


'Can't Intubate, Can't Oxygenate' is a rare but life threatening event. Anaesthetists must be trained and have appropriate equipment available for this. The ideal equipment is a topic of ongoing debate. To date cricothyroidotomy training for anaesthetists has concentrated on cannula techniques. However cases reported to the NAP4 audit illustrated that they were associated with a high failure rate. A recent editorial by Kristensen and colleagues suggested all anaesthetists must master a surgical technique. The surgical technique for cricothyroidotomy has been endorsed as the primary technique by the recent Difficult Airway Society 2015 guidelines.


We conducted a bench study comparing the updated Surgicric 2 device with a scalpel-bougie-tube surgical technique, and the Melker seldinger technique, using a porcine model. Twenty six senior anaesthetists (ST5+) participated. The primary outcome was insertion time. Secondary outcomes included success rate, ease of use, device preference and tracheal trauma.


There was a significant difference (P<0.001) in the overall comparisons of the insertion times. The surgical technique had the fastest median time of 62 s. The surgical and Surgicric techniques were significantly faster to perform than the Melker (both P<0.001). The surgical technique had a success rate of 85% at first attempt, and 100% within two attempts, whereas the others had failed attempts. The surgical technique was ranked first by 50% participants and had the lowest grade of posterior tracheal wall trauma, significantly less than the Surgicric 2 (P=0.002).


This study supports training in and the use of surgical cricothyroidotomy by anaesthetists.

| Tags : airway


Crico: Mais que fait-on ?

A hierarchical task analysis of cricothyroidotomy procedure for a virtual airway skills trainer simulator

Demirel D. et Al. Am J Surg. 2016 Sep;212(3):475-84



Despite the critical importance of cricothyroidotomy (CCT) for patient in extremis, clinical experience with CCT is infrequent, and current training tools are inadequate. The long-term goal is to develop a virtual airway skills trainer that requires a thorough task analysis to determine the critical procedural steps, learning metrics, and parameters for assessment.


Hierarchical task analysis is performed to describe major tasks and subtasks for CCT. A rubric for performance scoring for each taskwas derived, and possible operative errors were identified.


Time series analyses for 7 CCT videos were performed with 3 different observers. According to Pearson's correlation tests, 3 of the 7 major tasks had a strong correlation between their task times and performance scores.


HTA crico.jpg


The task analysis forms the core of a proposed virtual CCT simulator, and highlights links between performance time and accuracy when teaching individual surgical steps of the procedure.

| Tags : airway


Crico: Quelques rappels qui font du bien

Evidence Is Important: Safety Considerations for Emergency Catheter Cricothyroidotomy

Marshall SD et Al. Acad Emerg Med. 2016 Sep;23(9):1074-6


Il existe un regain d'intérêt concernant la pratique de l'oxygénation après ponction de la membrane cricoÏdienne. De large débats portent sur la meilleure méthode à utiliser. En pratique il n'est pas inutile de rappeler quelques vérités pratiques. C'est ce que propose ce document dont la lecture est fort utile. Cliquez sur la référence pour accéder au document et ici pour accéder à des vidéos complémentaires



| Tags : coniotomie


Airway: S'y pencher avec sérieux

Emergency airway management – by whom and how ?

Sollid SJ et Al. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2016 Oct;60(9):1185-7


Encore une publication qui insiste sur la formation à la gestion des voies aériennes et au maintien de ses compétences. Ceci n'est pas innée et s'impose tout d'abord non seulement aux praticiens peu confrontés à cette exercice, en première ligne les médecins urgentistes, mais aussi aux médecins anesthésistes compte tenu de l'essor de l'anesthésie loco-régionale et l'emploi de dispositifs supra-glottique. A lire et relire, ainsi que les références.


Procedures for advanced airway management are important for maintaining basic life functions in the unconscious patient, and can be lifesaving in critically ill or injured patients. In Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, a working group from the Scandinavian Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (SSAI) presents updated clinical guidelines on pre-hospital airway management.[1] The recommendations from the working group are important statements in the long-lasting quest to ensure that advanced airway management is managed safely pre-hospital at the right level of competence.

Technically, many of the procedures for advanced airway management of the average patient in controlled situations are easy to learn. Yet, a German study found that at least 200 intubation attempts were required to reach a 95% success rate.[2] The challenge, however, lies in assessing and managing the difficult airway cases. Emergency physicians with anaesthesiology background seem to be better at predicting difficult intubations than emergency physicians with other backgrounds, in addition to having significantly lower incidence of intubation problems and more experience in decisions on whether to intubate.[3]

Data from the UK show that the majority of complications in airway management occur in the emergency department and the intensive care unit. One of the reasons is the relatively low exposure to such procedures in these settings.[4] Studies on pre-hospital airway management also indicate that the rate of complications in this setting is high, and also that it is greatly dependent on the competence of the provider.[5] There is sufficient evidence to support that pre-hospital advanced airway management in the hands of trained anaesthesiologists is a safe procedure.[6-8] However, as other authors have pointed out, being a proficient provider of airway management is not equivalent with being an anaesthesiologist.[9] The combination of competencies to assess the situation, practical skills and ability to manage complications are more important than the name of the provider's speciality. In a physician-staffed helicopter emergency medical service in the UK, where doctors are a mix of anaesthesiologists and emergency physicians, the success rates are still high and complications are low.[10] This is probably related to the strict training and highly standardised operating procedures that all doctors must adhere to.

Based on this, advanced airway management seems to be safe if the providers have a large volume of clinical experience (anaesthesiologists) or alternatively, operate under strict clinical guidance and protocol rule (non-anaesthesiologists). Intuitively, a combination of both could probably improve safety further and would be useful in clinical environments, and particularly when airway management occurs as unplanned events with little or no time for individual planning and screening of the patient.

The most recent consensus-based European Guidelines for Postgraduate Training in Anaesthesiology recommend the change from duration of training and number of procedures into competence-based training.[11] These competences include advanced airway management skills. Some of this training can be done in simulation settings, but simulation cannot replace real-life situations.[12, 13] Once learnt, competences must be maintained. That requires regular exposure to the procedure. As the use of laryngeal masks and regional blocks increases at the expense of anaesthesia procedures including endotracheal intubation, the training opportunities for all providers, including anaesthesia personnel is being reduced. That is one of the reasons why the Section and Board of Anaesthesiology of the European Union of Medical Specialists recommended a multispecialty approach to emergency medicine.[14] Like the Scandinavian Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care recommended in 2010,[15] the European Society of Anaesthesiology is increasingly using the term ‘Critical Emergency Medicine’ for the part of the anaesthesiology speciality that all anaesthesiologists should command.

A Nordic working group published a literature review in 2008 on pre-hospital airway management, and proposed an evidence-based guideline.[16] This position paper concludes unanimously that pre-hospital emergency airway management in the appropriate patient groups should be achieved by rapid sequence induction and endotracheal intubation, provided the physician is an anaesthesiologist. Other providers should treat the same patient group in the lateral trauma recovery position and if necessary, provide assisted bag-valve-mask ventilation. Supraglottic airway devices were recommended for non-anaesthesiologists in cardiac arrest with a need for supine positioning of the patient, and as a backup device for anaesthesiologists. These findings have been reaffirmed in the new SSAI clinical practice guideline published in August issue.[1]

A similar paper concerning Scandinavian clinical practice guidelines on general anaesthesia for emergency situations underlines the dangers associated with administering anaesthesia outside the operating theatre. They too advocate that anaesthesia for emergency patients should be given by, or under very close supervision by, experienced anaesthesiologists, and stress that problems with the airway are to be anticipated.[17]

Emergency airway management outside the operating theatres carries a high risk of difficult intubation, in a recent study 10.3%, and these patients have a high risk of complications.[18] This demonstrate the need for particular vigilance in and training for these settings, and provides another argument for using supraglottic approaches for those patients in the hands of non-anaesthesiologists. A recent report from the Johns Hopkins Hospital describes a successful attempt to mitigate difficult airway situations arising within this highly specialised hospital. By the formation of a difficult airway response team, the researchers conquered difficult airway situations which until the intervention ranked among the top five adverse events in Maryland.[19]

In conclusion, emergency airway management carries a high risk of patient injury, even among highly trained and skilled anaesthesiologists. Airway management can be learned, and emergency airway handling can be performed with maintained safety also by non-anaesthesiologists, provided they operate in a highly supervised and algorithm-based environment.[9] In this light, the emerging new emergency medical specialty in the Scandinavian countries is of concern, if these acute or emergency physicians are supposed to perform emergency airway procedures independent of their anaesthesiologist colleagues. Whoever manages the compromised airway in the pre-hospital setting is required to do so with the highest level of quality, attainable through a combination of clinical experience and clinical governance. It is difficult to see how this can be achieved and maintained outside the specialty of anaesthesiology. In the end, this is a matter of patient safety, not competition for airways.

| Tags : airway