Age and gender are important considerations in choosing the sniffing position for laryngoscopic view

Sung-Wook Park, Kang-Woo Lee, Myung-Soo Jang, Jun-Young Jung, Bong-Jae Lee, Jong-Man Kang
International Journal of Medical Sciences 2014, 11 (12): 1258-61

AIMS: The sniffing position is considered to be the standard position for direct laryngoscopic viewing. This crossover study evaluated age and gender as variables in comparing the benefits of the sniffing position over simple head extension for laryngeal view during direct laryngoscopy.

METHODS: Laryngoscopy with a curved blade was performed on 200 anesthetized adults (100 males, 100 females) presenting for routine elective surgery. Glottic visualization was assessed by using the percentage of glottic opening (POGO) score in both simple extension and sniffing positions without the aid of the assistant or external laryngeal manipulation. Each gender group was divided into a younger group (< 50 years) and an older group (≥ 50 years). POGO scores were compared between both positions within each group.

RESULTS: Mean (SD) POGO scores increased significantly only in younger male patients from 43% (39%) in the head extension position to 76% (30%) in the sniffing position.

CONCLUSION: The sniffing position seems to be advantageous for getting a better laryngeal view during laryngoscopy for tracheal intubation in adult male patients less than 50 years old.

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