[Airway management]

G Schälte, S Rex, D Henzler
Der Anaesthesist 2007, 56 (8): 837-55; quiz 856-7
Managing the difficult airway poses an enormous challenge for anaesthesiologists, intensivists and A&E physicians, particularly because of the high probability of a potentially fatal outcome. Development and (pre-) clinical distribution of supraglottic airway devices (e.g. LMA, LT) and their enhancements, as well as the broad acceptance of awake fibre-optic intubation, led to a profound change in the strategy for managing the difficult airway. This is reflected in the revised ASA guidelines, implementing the use of the laryngeal mask airway and fibre-optic intubation. In view of the utmost importance of this topic the German Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI) framed an independent German guideline, considering German national terms and conditions. In analogy algorithms and guidelines of the ILCOR, ERC and ATLS were revised as well as those of many other national anaesthesiological boards. Nevertheless, massive national and international deficits exist in implementing these guidelines into practice and the implicated structural requirements with respect to education, reflection, team building and equipment concerning the individual institution.

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