Challenging airways in deep neck space infections

Peter D Karkos, Samuel C Leong, Helen Beer, Maria T Apostolidou, Alessandro Panarese
American Journal of Otolaryngology 2007, 28 (6): 415-8
Skilful airway management is critical in deep neck space infections. Although relatively uncommon, this spectrum of disease presents a clinical challenge for otolaryngologists and anesthetists. There is currently no universal agreement on the ideal method of airway control for these patients because this depends on various factors including available local expertise and equipment. We review the literature and discuss the available options of airway management in these head and neck emergencies. Special consideration is given to awake fiberoptic intubation and tracheotomy under local anesthesia. Relevant anatomy, route of spread and microbiology of deep neck space infections are also briefly discussed.

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