Extubation of the perioperative patient with a difficult airway
A considerable amount of literature has been dedicated to the topic of difficult airway management and a number of algorithms and recommendations have been established to safely manage patients at risk for difficult intubation. Only recently, however, has extubation of the difficult airway gained more awareness since this procedure, although elective, is often fraught with complications. The importance of developing pre-planned strategies for extubation of the difficult airway to improve patient safety and outcomes is apparent from data from both the ASA Closed Claims Analysis and the UK's recent Fourth National Audit Project of major complications of airway management. The key to successful management of patients at risk for difficult extubation is accurate risk assessment, application of appropriate strategies, and preparedness by both the individual practitioner and the institution.
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