Tag Archive for: Airway Management

Cricoid Pressure in Airway Management: The IRIS Trial

15 Nov
November 15, 2018

Background: Cricoid pressure is dead, right? Many have made this claim including a brilliant argument against its use by John Hinds here. Despite the many eulogies, we continue to hear about cricoid pressure so it makes sense that we dive in to the background prior to addressing the recent JAMA Surgery publication.

Cricoid pressure was first described by Dr. Sellick in the 1960’s though similar techniques were described as far back as the 1770s (Sellick 1961). The Sellick’s maneuver entailed the application of pressure over the cricoid cartilage with the thumb and 1-2 additional fingers.  The goal was to compress the cricoid cartilage against the esophagus in order to occlude the esophagus and prevent regurgitation of stomach contents into the upper airway. Initial studies on the maneuver suffered from a bevy of methodological flaws including small n, lack of blinding or randomization and selection bias. Despite this, Sellick’s maneuver was widely adopted and taught to hordes of anesthesia, critical care and emergency residents.

Studies investigating cricoid pressure in the last decade have demonstrated a number of issues with claims that it can prevent passive regurgitation. Check out this free chapter on EMRAP for an in depth discussion. Dynamic MRI studies demonstrate that application of pressure to the cricoid cartilage displaces the esophagus laterally instead of occluding it (Smith 2003, Boet 2012). An ultrasound study demonstrated similar findings: in 60% of patients the esophagus was lateral to the airway and cricoid pressure led to displacement rather than occlusion in all patients. (Tsung 2012).

Additionally, application of cricoid pressure decreases airway patency and increases the chance that your view of the airway will be obscured. (Allman 1995, Palmer 2000, Smith 2002, Oh 2013). Finally, no study to date has demonstrated a reduction in aspiration episodes with the application of cricoid pressure. A large observational study of pregnant patients undergoing C-sections found no difference in aspiration events and that the overall aspiration event rate was low (Fenton 2009). However, up until this point, there has not been a high-quality, randomized controlled trial performed. Read more →

REBEL Cast Ep 59: AIRWAYS-2 – Supraglottic vs Tracheal Intubation in OHCA

27 Sep
September 27, 2018

Background:There is a lack of high quality RCTs  investigating optimal airway management in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).  The majority of evidence comes from observational studies and expert opinion. The observational trials have consistently favored basic airway management (i.e. BVM) over tracheal intubation [3]. Supraglottic airway(SGA) devices offer an alternative advanced airway management technique to endotracheal intubation (ETI) during OHCA. SGA devices may offer an advantage over ETI as they are simpler and faster to placeAdditionally, proficiency  with SGAs requires less training and ongoing practice. Although there have been several recent studies published on airway management in OHCA, this post/podcast will focus on the recently published AIRWAYS-2 trial. Read more →

Preoxygenation and Apneic Oxygenation

24 Mar
March 24, 2014

Safe ApneaPreoxygenation and apneic oxygenation are key in emergency airway management, prevention of desaturation, and very important to patient safety.  One of the best papers I have ever read on this was written by Scott D. Weingart (@emcrit) and Richard M. Levitan (@airwaycam) in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in March 2012. This article reviewed techniques in preoxygenation and peri-intubation oxygenation in adult patients requiring tracheal intubation.  Read more →