Emergency Airway Management in a Simulation of Highly Contagious Isolated Patients: Both Isolation Strategy and Device Type Matter

Eike Plazikowski, Robert Greif, Jonas Marschall, Tina H. Pedersen, Maren Kleine-Brueggeney, Roland Albrecht, Lorenz Theiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To compare 6 airway-management devices in 3 isolation scenarios regarding their effect on airway management: portable isolation unit (PIU), personal protective equipment (PPE), and standard protection measures METHODS In total, 30 anesthesiologists working in emergency medical services performed airway management on mannequins in 3 isolation settings using 6 different airway management devices (in random order): (1) standard Macintosh laryngoscope; (2) Airtraq SP-video-laryngoscope; (3) i-gel; (4) LMA-Fastrach; (5) Ambu fiberoptic-aScope; and (6) Melker cricothyrotomy-set. Each was assessed regarding time-to-ventilate (primary outcome) and rating of difficulty handling the device. RESULTS In 86% (standard protection) and 85% (PPE) of attempts, airway management was achieved in <60 seconds, irrespective of the device used. In the PIU setting, only 69% of attempts succeeded within this time frame (P<.05). Median time-to-ventilate was shorter for standard protection (23 seconds) and PPE (25 seconds) compared to the PIU (38 seconds; P<.001). In the PIU setting, the fiberscope took the longest (median, 170 seconds), while i-gel was the quickest (median, 13 seconds). The rating of difficulty (visual analogue scale [VAS], 0-100) differed significantly between the isolation scenarios: Airway management was most difficult with PIU (VAS, 76), followed by PPE (VAS, 35), and standard protection (VAS, 9) (P<.01). CONCLUSION Wearing PPE produced similar times-to-ventilate as standard protection among anesthesiologists, but it was subjectively rated more difficult. The portable isolation unit permitted acceptable times-to-ventilate when excluding fiberscope and cricothyrotomy. Supraglottic airway devices allowed the fastest airway management in all isolation scenarios, thus being highly recommendable if a portable isolation unit is used and emergency airway management becomes necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


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