We have been to the Moon 40 years ago, and we are planning to go to Mars, but if you need mechanical ventilation via a breathing tube in 2010, in most places around the world you still have an awkwardly curved steel rod shoved down your throat, that is designed to, ideally, push and lift the structures out of the way that obscure the way to your vocal cords, and the trachea behind them, which is where the tube needs to go.
We grade the view we can obtain with those standard laryngoscopes from I-IV, where grade I is “med student could do it” and grade IV means “why is the anaesthetic Consultant sweating and looking at the cric set?”
Here’s what one looks like:
Some people are very hard or outright impossible to intubate(putting the breathing tube into the trachea is called intubation), because of anatomical structures like a bullneck or Down syndrome, or tumours, facial trauma, or previous conditions like rheumatoid arthritis leading to limited neck movements.So there is always some anxiety involved when one has to quickly intubate such a patient, say after a drug overdose or a motor vehicle accident.
But behold, the Glidescope is here ! Finally someone has figured out that it would be good to not only have a lightbulb at the tip of the laryngoscope, but also a little camera that transmits to a monitor, so one can actually see what one is doing.The thing is also curved differently, so that much less pulling and lifting is required to get a good view of the vocal cords.Quite astonishing that it took medical science 40 years to come up with this !
GlideScope is clinically proven to achieve a C/L Grade I or II
view 99% of the time.
Which, in Emergency Medicine, where every intubation is inherently difficult, is absolutely fantastic news ! My new favourite toy, yay !!
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