Introduction of the GlideScope videolaryngoscope caused a change in use of other devices for difficult airway management.
The influence of the GlideScope videolaryngoscope on changes in the indications for and the frequency of use of flexible fibreoptic-assisted intubation and other difficult airway management techniques.
Retrospective cohort study.
Tertiary care referral centre.
Two periods of equal length (647 days each) before and after introducing the GlideScope were compared. Information about patients who were intubated using nondirect laryngoscopic techniques were analysed. Data were retrieved from the anaesthesia and hospital information management systems.
Difficult airway management techniques were used in 235/8306 (2.8%) patients before and in 480/8517 (5.6%) (P < 0.0001) patients after the introduction of the GlideScope. There was an overall 44.4% reduction in use of flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy after GlideScope introduction [before 149/8306 (1.8%); after 85/8517 (1.0%), P < 0.0001]. The GlideScope replaced flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy in most cases with expected and unexpected difficult intubation. In patients with limited mouth opening, flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy was still mostly the first choice after the introduction of the GlideScope. There was a 70% reduction in the use of other difficult intubation techniques after the introduction of the GlideScope [before 84/8306 (1.0%); after 22/8517 (0.3%), P < 0.0001)].
The GlideScope videolaryngoscope replaced flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy for most patients with expected and unexpected difficult intubation. In the case of limited mouth opening, flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy was still the first choice after the introduction of the GlideScope. The reduced use of flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy raises concerns that residents may not be adequately trained in this essential airway management technique. GlideScope use was disproportionately greater than the reduction in the use of flexible fibreoptic bronchoscopy and other difficult intubation techniques. This may be attributed to resident teaching and use in patients with low-to-moderate suspicion of difficult intubation.