Difficult airway equipment in obstetric units in the republic of Ireland: results of a national survey

A Niazi, E Cummins, K Walsh
European Journal of Anaesthesiology 2004, 21 (11): 861-3

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Difficult intubation in obstetric units has been identified as a major contributory factor to anaesthesia related maternal morbidity and mortality. Availability of equipment for management of a difficult airway is associated with reduced maternal complications. The purpose of our survey was to describe the availability of difficult airway equipment in Irish Obstetric Units.

METHODS: A telephone survey was conducted in which all respondents were asked whether they housed basic airway equipment, alternative ventilation and alternative intubation equipment within or close to their obstetric unit.

RESULTS: The most important finding of this study is that all the obstetric units in Ireland hold at least one alternative device for both ventilation and intubation. The most common alternative ventilation device was the laryngeal mask airway and the most common alternative intubating device was the surgical airway device.

CONCLUSIONS: Irish Obstetric Units are well equipped according to the international guidelines for difficult intubation equipment. However, we believe that this situation could be further improved by training inexperienced anaesthetists in the use of the Intubating Laryngeal Mask and by the increased use of portable trolleys.


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