Emergency intubation in a patient with advanced ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who presents with severe thoracic kyphosis deformity, rigid cervical flexion deformity of the neck, and an inability to achieve the supine position is particularly challenging to emergency physicians.
This study reports on an AS patient presenting with these difficult airway characteristics and acute respiratory failure who was successfully intubated using video laryngoscope-assisted inverse intubation (II) and blind digital intubation (BDI). By using Pentax AirwayScope-assisted inverse intubation, the tracheal tube tip was passed through the glottic opening, but an unexpected resistance occurred during tube advancement, which was overcome by subsequent BDI. By using laryngoscope-assisted II complemented by the BDI technique, the patient was successfully intubated without complications.
Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?
Our case demonstrated that these two emergency airway management techniques are valuable backup methods and complement each other when applied to certain unstable airways, especially when the traditional patient position is not easily accomplished. Unexpected difficulty is not rare during airway management; emergency physicians should always be well prepared both mentally and practically.
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Published online: March 26, 2018
Accepted: February 6, 2018
Received in revised form: January 24, 2018
Received: November 30, 2017
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