Craniocervical motion during direct laryngoscopy and orotracheal intubation with the Macintosh and Miller blades: An in vivo cinefluoroscopic study

Scott A. LeGrand, Bradley J. Hindman, Franklin Dexter, Julie B. Weeks, Michael M. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have characterized segmental craniocervical motion that occurs during direct laryngoscopy and intubation with a Macintosh laryngoscope blade. Comparable studies with the Miller blade have not been performed. The aim of this study was to compare maximal segmental craniocervical motion occurring during direct laryngoscopy and orotracheal intubation with Macintosh and Miller blades. METHODS: Eleven anesthetized and pharmacologically paralyzed patients underwent two sequential orotracheal intubations, one with a Macintosh blade and another with a Miller in random order. During each intubation, segmental craniocervical motion from the occiput to the fifth cervical vertebra (C5) was recorded using continuous lateral cinefluoroscopy. Single-frame images corresponding to the point of maximal cervical motion for both blade types were compared with a preintubation image. Using image analysis software, angular change in the sagittal plane at each of five intervertebral segments was compared between the Macintosh and Miller blades. RESULTS: Extension at occiput-C1 was greater with the Macintosh blade compared with the Miller (12.1°± 4.9°vs. 9.5°± 3.8°, respectively; mean difference = 2.7°± 3.0°; P = 0.012). Total craniocervical extension (occiput-C5) was also greater with the Macintosh blade compared with the Miller (28.1°± 9.5°vs. 23.2°± 8.4°, respectively; mean difference = 4.8°± 4.4°; P = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the Macintosh, the Miller blade was associated with a statistically significant, but quantitatively small, decrease in cervical extension. This difference is likely too small to be important in routine practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-891
Number of pages8
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume107
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

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