McCluskey, K. & Stephens, M. Anaesthesia and intensive care medicine | Published online: 4 March 2017
Conventional direct laryngoscopy with the curved Macintosh blade is a fundamental skill for all anaesthetists and has been the cornerstone of airway management for many years. This technique relies on the operator aligning the oro-pharyngo-laryngeal structures and inserting an endotracheal tube into the trachea under direct vision. There is a recognized failure rate with this technique and thus alternative techniques for tracheal intubation should be available for use in difficult situations.
Awake fibreoptic intubation (AFOI) remains the ‘gold standard’ method for securing the airway in an anticipated difficult intubation. Advances in optical technology over recent years have lead to the development of several rigid indirect devices, which improve glottic visualization by enabling the operator to ‘see around the corner’. With improved views at laryngoscopy these videolaryngoscopes are emerging as important tools in airway management and useful teaching and training aids.
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