A survey of tracheal intubation difficulty in the operating room: A prospective observational study

  • Adnet F
  • Racine S
  • Borron S
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study is to describe all degrees of endotracheal intubation difficulty among patients attended by eight anesthesiologists during routine surgery over a six-month period. Airway characteristics were routinely assessed preoperatively, according to the anesthesiologists' usual practice.

METHODS: Difficult tracheal intubation was evaluated by the Intubation Difficulty Scale (IDS), a quantitative score based on seven variables. An IDS value of 0 is consistent with a procedure without difficulty, and an IDS > 5 with a procedure involving moderate to major difficulty.

RESULTS: For 1171 patients undergoing tracheal intubation, IDS was 0 in 55%, and greater than 5 in 8% of cases. External laryngeal pressure, repositioning the patient and added use of a stylet were the most frequent methods chosen to facilitate tracheal intubation.

CONCLUSION: There was a high incidence (37%) of minor difficulties encountered during routine surgery.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Airway management
  • Intubation Difficulty Scale
  • Operating room

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  • Stephen BorronTexas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

  • F. Adnet

  • S. X. Racine

  • J. L. Clemessy

  • J. L. Fournier

  • F. Lapostolle

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