alexa Management of the Traumatized Airway.


Otolaryngology: Open Access

Author(s): Jain U, McCunn M, Smith CE, Pittet JF

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There is a lack of evidence-based approach regarding the best practice for airway management in patients with a traumatized airway. General recommendations for the management of the traumatized airway are summarized in table 5. Airway trauma may not be readily apparent, and its evaluation requires a high level of suspicion for airway disruption and compression. For patients with facial trauma, control of the airway may be significantly impacted by edema, bleeding, inability to clear secretions, loss of bony support, and difficulty with face mask ventilation. With the airway compression from neck swelling or hematoma, intubation attempts can further compromise the airway due to expanding hematoma. For patients with airway disruption, the goal is to pass the tube across the injured area without disrupting it or to insert the airway distal to the injury using a surgical approach. If airway injury is extensive, a surgical airway distal to the site of injury may be the best initial approach. Alternatively, if orotracheal intubation is chosen, spontaneous ventilation may be maintained or RSI may be performed. RSI is a common approach. Thus, some of the patients intubated may subsequently require tracheostomy. A stable patient with limited injuries may not require intubation but should be watched carefully for at least several hours. Because of a paucity of evidence-based data, the choice between these approaches and the techniques utilized is a clinical decision depending on the patient's condition, clinical setting, injuries to airway and other organs, and available personnel, expertise, and equipment. Inability to obtain a definitive airway is always an absolute indication for an emergency cricothyroidotomy or surgical tracheostomy

This article was published in Anesthesiology and referenced in Otolaryngology: Open Access

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