Airway management using ultrasound
Ultrasonography as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool has greatly impacted the anesthesiologist's routine in multiple practical applications. However, only recently there have been some reports published in the literature on the use of ultrasonography for the management of the airway in the surgical and ICU patients. Being a portable, easy to use, non-invasive tool that does not require any ionizing energy, ultrasonography becomes highly attractive when the anesthesiologist faces practical issues in a difficult airway. The purpose of this review was precisely to show the potential uses of ultrasonography for difficult airway management, from the literature perspective.
There is enough trials-based evidence so far to recommend the use of ultrasonography for the following situations: identification of anatomical airway structures, static detection of a failed or esophageal intubation, dynamic airway measurements, and size determination of endotracheal tubes; identification of predictors of a difficult airway in patients with challenging necks, and trans-tracheal techniques to secure the airway
Nevertheless, further studies with strong methodological quality are required to show the potential of ultrasonography to impact the difficult airway management and the morbidity and mortality associated with this condition.
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