nextgen learning to elevate your airway practice
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When stepping up to the head of the bed In a rapidly evolving emergency, it may be hard to fully assess the airway of that altered or agitated patient with the same detail as you would for an elective pre-operative assessment, but the skilled clinician should still be able to quickly and efficiently get some of the most important information they need by doing a few simple things. Things that you should learn and incorporate into your own practice. They only take seconds and can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. Here they are.
THE 60 SECOND AIRWAY ASSESSMENT
Here is what we consider the bare minimum. The essential elements of the rapid airway assessment that can be done in under 60 seconds.
The Mallampati score is one of the most well known of the assessment tools. It’s a fairly intuitive: the less you can see of the back of the throat, the more likely that the mouth opening is smaller, and the tongue is bigger, creating less room to work, and making intubation harder. Remember this only works on co-operative patients. Don’t try this on your agitated or obtunded patients!
DETAILS OF THE HEAD & NECK ASSESSMENT
If you have a little more time and a co-operative patient, this is a great video showing some of the key features of a full assessment that can be performed prior to intubation.
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