Management of the difficult airway

Jon Smally A, Anthony Nowicki T

Affiliation of the authors

Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine. Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut, Hartford, USA.



Jon Smally A, Anthony Nowicki T. Management of the difficult airway. Emergencias. 2011;23:479-85


Airway management is the cornerstone of Emergency Medicine. The Emergency

Physician (EP) must be able to protect the airway, oxygenate, and ventilate patients of all

ages and sizes including those possessing multiple markers of potential difficult

intubation. In many situations there will not be available backup for the EP and no

possibility of deferring the procedure (“cancelling the case”) due to the patient’s

extremis. Fortunately, experienced and trained EP’s are able to achieve control of the

airway in the vast majority of cases with sedation or rapid sequence intubation (RSI) with

paralysis and direct laryngoscopy (DL). In this Review/Point of View report we will outline

a method of preparation, approach, and use of equipment that should reduce the

chance of an adverse or even catastrophic outcome in your practice.


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