Airway management

  • F. Agrò
Part of the Topics in Anaesthesia and Critical Care book series (TIACC)


The development of intubation techniques has been very important to the history of anesthesiology and critical care. Over the past decade significant advances have been achieved in the field of airway management. For example, greater attention has been paid to proper evaluation of the risks of difficult or impossible ventilation and/or intubation, as well as to the marketing of new devices that aid in unpre-dicted difficult intubations (laryngeal mask airway, Combitube, LMA-Fastrach, etc.). In addition, the kinds and the quality available of the facilities for assisting patients with airway problems have been improved. Tracheal intubation is necessary in numerous circumstances: respiratory or circulatory failure, neurological accidents, airway protection of patients at risk of bronchial inhalation, general anesthesia in paralyzed patients, etc. But this simple maneuver may sometimes be extremely difficult or even impossible, accounting for the numerous deaths and pathologies due to prolonged hypoxia. Unfortunately, a significant number of problems during airway emergency is iatrogenic: every year about 600 [1] patients die due to failed airway management in emergencies all over the world. The incidence of difficult intubations is 2.3% of all patients [2], and up to 10% of patients suffering from otolaryngologic pathologies [3]. Intubation failures range from 0.04% of all patients to 0.35% of obstetric patients [4].


Tracheal Intubation Airway Management Laryngeal Mask Airway Difficult Airway Difficult Intubation 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 1999

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  • F. Agrò

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