Are we Masters of the Paediatric Airway?
Summary by: Andy Sloas
One of the many things that we, as intensivists or emergency physicians, do better than anyone in the business is obtain the emergent airway. We are usually introduced to our patients on the worst days of their lives and even though we may sometimes wish for it, we do not have the option to reschedule our intubations. Smashed, bloody, distorted, edematous airways secondary to trauma, anaphylaxis, and GI bleeds are the commonality not the exception. We manage those airways routinely with nary a complaint or even a hither for a better look at the glottis than what we can obtain. We often feel lucky to even get a glimpse of the arytenoids much less something that actually resembles normal laryngeal anatomy.
Personally, if I knew that I would need to be intubated today, that my airway would be a bloody, edematous, traumatic mess and there was only chance for one person to take a shot at placing the tube, then I would pray to God that the last face I saw before the Roc and Ketamine pushed me asunder was the familiar grill of one of my EM/critical care colleagues. Who better to bet all my chips on then someone who deals with the most difficult airways on the face of the planet as part of their daily routine?
The EM doc or critical care provider can not only get that airway, but is so relaxed about it that they will often casually check on the patient in the next bed before and after the intubation. That’s the confidence I’m looking for when it comes to the fast-paced life and death world of emergency airway. Now put a child’s life on the line. Are you ready to intubate what was a perfectly healthy three year old two hours before trauma threatened their life and placed their airway in your hands? You will be…
Andrew Sloas DO, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FAAP Editor-in-Chief: The PEM ED Podcast www.pemed.org