CASE: We report a case of postoperative unilateral hypoglossal nerve palsy after uncomplicated use of the LMA Protector. To the best of our knowledge, this could be the second reported case.
CONCLUSIONS: This case demonstrates that anesthetists need to routinely measure cuff pressure and that the Cuff PilotTM technology is not a panacea for potential cranial nerve injury after airway manipulation.
METHODS: We conducted an observational crossover bench study to compare the cannula-to-Melker with the scalpel-bougie technique in a porcine tracheal model. Twenty-eight anesthetists participated. The primary outcome was time taken for device insertion. Secondary outcomes were first-pass success rate, incidence of tracheal trauma, and technique preference. We also compared the data on outcome measures with the data obtained in a similar workshop a year ago.
RESULTS: The scalpel-bougie technique was significantly faster than the cannula-to-Melker technique for cricothyroidotomy (median time of 45.2 s vs. 101.3 s; P = 0.001). Both techniques had 100% success rate within two attempts; there were no significant differences in the first-pass success rates and incidence of tracheal wall trauma (P > 0.999 and P = 0.727, respectively) between them. The relative risks of inflicting tracheal wall trauma after a failed cricothyroidotomy attempt were 6.9 (95% CI 1.5-31.1), 2.3 (95% CI 0.3-20.7) and 3.0 (95% CI 0.3-25.9) for the scalpel-bougie, cannula-cricothyroidotomy, and Melker-Seldinger airway, respectively. The insertion time and incidence of tracheal wall trauma were lower when the present data were compared with data from a similar workshop conducted the previous year.
CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the use of a scalpel-bougie technique for cricothyroidotomy by anesthetists and advocates a yearly training program for skill retention.
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