Successful tracheal intubation with Augustine Guide ™ (Augustine Medical, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN) in patients with normal airways has recently been described. There are no studies describing Augustine Guide (AG) use in patients with difficult airways. Accordingly, we studied AG intubation in a population of patients with expected difficult airways due to cervical spine pathology, limited mouth opening, obesity, facial trauma or deformity due to previous operation or radiation and in patients with unexpectedly difficult airways. A total of 44 patients were studied. The AG was used as a primary intubating tool in patients with known difficult airways (n = 36) and as a secondary intubating tool in patients with unexpected inability to intubate using conventional direct laryngoscopy (n = 8). Airway difficulty was predicted by history and physical examination. Intubations were performed under general anaesthesia in 40 of the 44 patients studied. In four patients with predictably difficult airways, topical anaesthesia and sedation were used. Backup methods to achieve intubation were available. Thirty-two of the 36 with known or suspected difficult airways were classified as Mallampati Class III or IV. In the remaining eight patients the preoperative examination suggested an easy airway; however, after induction of general anaesthesia, their laryngeal inlet could not be seen using direct laryngoscopy. Using the AG, all were intubated successfully (36/44 at the first attempt, in 8/44 repositioning of the AG to allow successful laryngeal entry of the stylet was necessary). There were no failures or complications secondary to AG use. This study shows that the AG is a useful device for oral tracheal intubation in patients with known or unexpectedly difficult airways.
- intubation, trachéal: complications, difficult, technique