A 40 year old man with a history of ankylosing spondylitis and known difficulty with intubation on previous elective surgery is admitted to your ICU for hypoxic respiratory failure. A decision to perform a semi-elective, awake fiberoptic intubation in the ICU has been made.
Describe how you will prepare for this procedure.
(a) Preparation of patient
• Consent/explanation of procedure
• Obtain history of previous airway difficulty, technique used, complications, etc. (from patient, letter from anaesthetist).H/o allergies-esp. to local anaesthetics. Fasting status. Other co-morbidities, eg. coagulopathy.
• Clinical assessment- of airway itself, mouth opening, nasal cavity/septum, range of neck movement, mental status including ability to understand and cooperate with proposed procedure, degree of hypoxia and ability to pre-oxygenate.
(b) Preparation of environment/personnel
• Appropriate lighting with ability to dim.
• Monitoring - ECG, pulse oximetry, arterial line, capnography set up.
• Adequate and working IV access
• Establish comfortable and adequate patient position, pillows, etc.
• Request help and ensure availability as appropriate- eg. Anaesthetist
• Ensure presence of adequate skilled assistants. Inform them in detail of steps of procedure and assign roles, as appropriate.(eg. observation of patient, administration of sedatives, optimisation of patient position, injection of LA, etc)
• Discuss a plan B, if technique were to fail.
• Keep resuscitation trolley easily available and ensure difficult airway equipment available.
(d) Preparation of drugs
o Antisialagogue- eg. glycopyrrolate
o Consider proton pump inhibitor.
o Midazolam/Fentanyl as appropriate (small doses as patient should be able to cooperate)
• Local anaesthetics- Very important in order to achieve success. Ensure not to exceed recommended doses and allow adequate time to act.
o Nasal cavity and nasopharynx- 10% lignocaine spray with phenylephrine spray or cotton tipped pledgets soaked in 4% cocaine or nebuliser filled with
5ml of 4% lignocaine.
o Oral cavity and oropharynx- 10% lignocaine spray or 2% lignocaine viscous gargles.
• Extra local anaesthetic may be required to spray during advancement of bronchoscope.
This question separates the dual trainees in ICU and anaesthetics from those who don't routinely have their hands on a bronchoscope.
Walsh, Mary E., and G. D. Shorten. "Preparing to perform an awake fiberoptic intubation." The Yale journal of biology and medicine 71.6 (1998): 537.