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How anaesthesiologists understand difficult airway guidelines-an interview study

Kati Knudsen, Ulrika Pöder, Ulrica Nilsson, Marieann Högman, Anders Larsson, Jan Larsson
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences 2017, 122 (4): 243-248

BACKGROUND: In the practice of anaesthesia, clinical guidelines that aim to improve the safety of airway procedures have been developed. The aim of this study was to explore how anaesthesiologists understand or conceive of difficult airway management algorithms.

METHODS: A qualitative phenomenographic design was chosen to explore anaesthesiologists' views on airway algorithms. Anaesthesiologists working in three hospitals were included. Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted.

RESULTS: Four different ways of understanding were identified, describing airway algorithms as: (A) a law-like rule for how to act in difficult airway situations; (B) a cognitive aid, an action plan for difficult airway situations; (C) a basis for developing flexible, personal action plans for the difficult airway; and (D) the experts' consensus, a set of scientifically based guidelines for handling the difficult airway.

CONCLUSIONS: The interviewed anaesthesiologists understood difficult airway management guidelines/algorithms very differently.


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