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Effect of Dynamic Versus Stylet-Guided Intubation on First-Attempt Success in Difficult Airways Undergoing Glidescope Laryngoscopy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Mazzinari, Guido MD, MSc, PhD*,†; Rovira, Lucas MD, PhD†,‡; Henao, Liliana MD*; Ortega, Juan MD*; Casasempere, Alma MD*; Fernandez, Yolanda MD; Acosta, Mariana MD*; Belaouchi, Moncef MD*; Esparza-Miñana, José Miguel MD*,§

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000004102
Respiration and Sleep Medicine: Original Clinical Research Report
Continuing Medical Education

BACKGROUND: Tracheal intubation failure in patients with difficult airway is still not uncommon. While videolaryngoscopes such as the Glidescope offer better glottic vision due to an acute-angled blade, this advantage does not always lead to an increased success rate because successful insertion of the tube through the vocal cords may be the limiting factor. We hypothesize that combined use of Glidescope and fiberscope used only as a dynamic guide facilitates tracheal intubation compared to a conventional Glidescope technique with a preshaped nondynamic stylet.

METHODS: One hundred sixty adult patients with predicted difficult airway were randomly assigned to a conventional Glidescope (standard Glidescope group) or a combined Glidescope + fiberscope group intubation. In the Glidescope + fiberscope group under direct vision from the Glidescope, tracheal intubation was performed using the fiberscope as a guide without using fiberoptic vision, while in the standard Glidescope group, a conventional stylet-guided intubation technique was performed. We evaluated the rate of tracheal intubation success at first attempt as the primary end point (Fisher exact test). The difference between groups in airway injury, time to successful intubation, and the need for an alternative technique was also evaluated.

RESULTS: First-attempt intubation success was higher in the Glidescope + fiberscope group than in the standard Glidescope group (91% vs 67%; P = .0012; fragility index, 8; absolute risk reduction, 24% [95% CI, 12%–36%]). Median time to successful tracheal intubation was shorter in the Glidescope + fiberscope group (50 vs 64 seconds; P = .035). Airway injury rate was lower in the Glidescope + fiberscope group than in the standard Glidescope group (1% vs 11%; P = .035; fragility index, 1; absolute risk reduction, 10% [95% CI, 3%–18%]). Alternative rescue technique requirements to achieve tracheal intubation were higher in the standard Glidescope group (24% vs 4%; P < .001; fragility index, 7).

CONCLUSIONS: The use of a dynamic, flexible guide during a Glidescope laryngoscopy in patients with a predicted difficult airway compared to a standard intubation technique improves first-attempt intubation success, decreases the incidence of airway injury and time to successful intubation, as well as the need of an alternative technique to succeed.

From the *Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Hospital de Manises, Valencia, Spain

Research Group in Perioperative Medicine, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, Valencia, Spain

Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Consorcio Hospital General Universitario, Valencia, Spain

§Escuela de Doctorado, Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir.

Published ahead of print 28 January 2019.

Accepted for publication January 28, 2019.

Funding: None.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website.

Ethical approval was granted by the competent institutional review board, as detailed in the text.

Clinical trial registration: NCT02627755.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to Guido Mazzinari, MD, MSc, PhD, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Hospital de Manises, Avenida de la Generalitat Valenciana 50, 46940 Manises, Valencia, Spain. Address e-mail to

Copyright © 2019 International Anesthesia Research Society
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