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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 154-159

Jaw lift causes less laryngeal interference during lightwand-guided intubation than combined jaw and tongue traction applied by single operator

Department of Anaesthesiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India

Correspondence Address:
Umesh Goneppanavar
Department of Anaesthesiology, Kasturba Medical College, Madhavanagar, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.79896

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Lightwand-guided intubation is a semi-blind technique that takes advantage of the anterior location of the trachea in relation to the oesophagus. Fibreoptic evaluation of lightwand-guided intubation has revealed a possibility of laryngeal interference and epiglottic distortion. Jaw lift, tongue traction or a combination of both have been used to assist in lightwand-guided intubation. This study fibreoptically evaluates lightwand-guided intubation using jaw lift and combined jaw and tongue traction. Eighty four patients with normal airway undergoing general anaesthesia were studied. This randomised, double blinded, cross over study was done in two phases. First phase - after achieving adequate depth of anaesthesia, a fibrescope was advanced nasally, and lightwand-guided intubation was carried out under direct fibreoptic visualisation with the aid of either jaw lift or combined jaw and tongue traction. Second phase - Extubation followed by reintubation using the other manoeuvre. Interference with laryngeal structures during intubation and position of the epiglottis at the end of intubation were noted. Epiglottic distortion (deviated to one side/infolded into trachea) was observed in 6 patients with jaw lift and 17 patients with combined jaw and tongue traction (P=0.003). Laryngeal interference was significantly higher (P=0.012) with combined manoeuvre (30/78) than with jaw lift alone (9/81). Although lightwand-guided intubation can be performed quickly and easily, interference with laryngeal structures and distortion of the epiglottis can occur. Jaw lift manoeuvre causes less laryngeal interference than combined jaw and tongue traction applied by a single operator.

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