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Observations on the assessment and optimal use of videolaryngoscopes

Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, The Alfred, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia and Department of Women’s Anaesthesia, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Singapore


Due to the large number of videolaryngoscopes now available, it might be difficult for novice users to assess the various devices or use them optimally. We have collated the experiences of several airway management experts to assist in the assessment and optimal use of seven commonly used videolaryngoscopes. While all videolaryngoscopes have unique features, they can be broadly divided into those inserted via a midline approach over the tongue and those inserted laterally along the floor of the mouth. Videolaryngoscopes that are placed on the floor of the mouth displace the tongue antero-laterally and flatten the submandibular tissues. They generally require a conventional shaped bougie for tracheal intubation. Videolaryngoscopes that use the midline approach may have an in-built airway conduit for the tracheal tube or may require a ‘J-shaped’ stylet in the tracheal tube to negotiate the upper airway. This may cause difficulty when the tracheal tube is inserted through the glottis and the tip abuts the anterior wall of the subglottic space. Knowledge of the mechanism used by videolaryngoscopes to achieve laryngoscopy is essential for safe and successful tracheal intubation when using these devices.

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