The hormonal, physiologic, and anatomic changes of pregnancy have a number of significant anesthetic implications, including the potential for difficulties and failures in tracheal intubation. The American Society of Anesthesiology closed claims database in the 1970s observed that maternal deaths were involved in 30% of all obstetrics claims, most stemming from difficulty with intubation or ventilation. In the late 1970s, Dr. Sanjay Datta, MBBS, an obstetric anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA), observed a number of differences in the practice of obstetric anesthesia in the United States when compared with his prior experiences in the United Kingdom and Canada. Dr. Datta perceived that parturients within North America had a higher body mass index. In addition, he observed an increased rate of cesarean delivery and general anesthesia use. These differences led him to evaluate ways in which the laryngoscope itself could be altered to improve the ease of intubation of parturients; this led to the development of the short laryngoscope handle. The genesis of the Datta short laryngoscope handle, and the accompanying historical context, will be explored.
From the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Accepted for publication July 5, 2013.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Reprints will not be available from the authors.
Address correspondence to Lawrence C. Tsen, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis St., Boston, MA. Address e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.