Correlation between modified LEMON score and intubation difficulty in adult trauma patients undergoing emergency surgery

Sung-Mi Ji, Eun-Jin Moon, Tae-Jun Kim, Jae-Woo Yi, Hyungseok Seo, Bong-Jae Lee
World Journal of Emergency Surgery: WJES 2018, 13: 33

Background: Prediction of difficult airway is critical in the airway management of trauma patients . A LEMON method which consists of following assessments; Look-Evaluate-Mallampati-Obstruction-Neck mobility is a fast and easy technique to evaluate patients' airways in the emergency situation. And a modified LEMON method, which excludes the Mallampati classification from the original LEMON score, also can be used clinically. We investigated the relationship between modified LEMON score and intubation difficulty score in adult trauma patients undergoing emergency surgery.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed electronic medical records of 114 adult trauma patients who underwent emergency surgery under general anesthesia. All patients' airways were evaluated according to the modified LEMON method before anesthesia induction and after tracheal intubation; the intubating doctor self-reported the intubation difficulty scale (IDS) score. A difficult intubation group was defined as patients who had IDS scores > 5 .

Results: The modified LEMON score was significantly correlated with the IDS score ( P  < 0.001). The difficult intubation group showed higher modified LEMON score than the non-difficult intubation group (3 [2-5] vs. 2 [1-3], respectively, P  = 0.017). Limited neck mobility was the only independent predictor of intubation difficulty (odds ratio, 6.15; P  = 0.002).

Conclusion: The modified LEMON score is correlated with difficult intubation in adult trauma patients undergoing emergency surgery.

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