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Universal videolaryngoscopy: a structured approach to conversion to videolaryngoscopy for all intubations in an anaesthetic and intensive care department

T M Cook, N J Boniface, C Seller, J Hughes, C Damen, L MacDonald, F E Kelly
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2018, 120 (1): 173-180

BACKGROUND: Videolaryngoscopy (VL) is increasingly used, but not yet routine practice, for tracheal intubation. Few departments formally trial equipment before adopting it into practice. We describe the decision-making and implementation processes that our department used when introducing universal VL, with the C-MAC© (Karl Storz, Germany), throughout our anaesthesia and intensive care departments.

METHODS: We used a structured process to assess the feasibility of a change to universal VL. After departmental training, we undertook a 2 month trial period of mandating VL for all adult in-theatre intubations. Thereafter, VL remained widely available, but not mandated. We regularly surveyed anaesthetists and anaesthetic assistants to evaluate departmental opinion regarding the introduction of universal VL.

RESULTS: Before the trial period, one-third of anaesthetists judged that universal VL would be of overall benefit to patient safety, team dynamics, and quality of care. Reservations from both junior and senior anaesthetists focused on training concerns. Support for a changeover to VL, amongst both anaesthetists and anaesthetic assistants, increased throughout the trial period. Six months after the 2 month trial, support had grown further and was almost unanimous. Anaesthetists reported significant benefits in clinical performance, teaching, and human factors, especially teamwork and situation awareness.

CONCLUSIONS: Performing a formal and prolonged trial of mandatory VL in theatre led to changes in perceptions and departmental consensus. As a result of the trial, the department agreed to the use of C-MAC© videolaryngoscopy as the default intubation technique throughout theatres and intensive care, with removal of standard Macintosh laryngoscopes from routine use.


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