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Letters to the Editor: Letter to the Editor

Smartphone Assisted Laryngoscopy

A New Technique to Overcome Light Failure in a Laryngoscope

Avidan, Alexander MD; Shaylor, Ruth BMBS, BMedSci; Levin, Phillip D. MB BChir

Author Information
doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182a5c61b
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To the Editor

Recently during direct laryngoscopy for an elective case, the laryngoscope’s light bulb unexpectedly failed. A flashlight smartphone app (“Assistive Light Widget” for Android, similar to iPhone “Flashlight”) was immediately activated on the attending’s smartphone and used as an alternative light source without interrupting the laryngoscopy. The attending held the smartphone to the right of the resident’s head so that the view of the patient’s larynx (as demonstrated in the manikin simulation in Fig. 1) was not interrupted. Due to the wide angle of the flashlight, the larynx was well viewed, and tracheal intubation was easily performed.

Figure 1
Figure 1:
Simulation of smartphone flashlight use to overcome defective laryngoscope light source. The smartphone is placed to the right of the person performing the laryngoscopy. The smartphone does not interrupt the view of the larynx. Due to the wide angle of the light beam, enough light is emitted in order to obtain a good laryngeal view.

Smartphones are carried by most attending physicians in our department in the pockets of scrubs and are thus immediately available, always charged, and their flashlight application can be switched on with no external power source. This is in contrast to other compact external light sources available in the operating room (such as flashlights) that are bulkier, require regular maintenance and checks, or have to be plugged into a power source. Even if spare batteries or laryngoscopes are available, their use requires laryngoscopy to be abandoned.

This case represents an important positive use of nearly ubiquitously available smartphones, usually considered a nuisance and/or a distraction in the operating room.

Alexander Avidan, MD

Ruth Shaylor, BMBS, BMedSci

Phillip D. Levin, MB BChir

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center

Hebrew University Hadassah School of Medicine

Jerusalem, Israel

[email protected]

© 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society