A comparison of direct laryngoscopy to video laryngoscopy by paramedic students in manikin-simulated airway management scenarios

16 Jul 2018

We compare the effectiveness of direct laryngoscopy (DL) to video laryngoscopy (VL) in simulated, difficult airway scenarios in a cohort of novice, prehospital, emergency care providers. Methods Forty-five (45) students were randomised to DL or VL groups and then tasked to perform intubation on a manikin in three simulated airway scenarios. The scenarios included an uncomplicated intubation, intubation with manual in-line neck stabilisation (MILNS), and a simulated motor vehicle entrapment, with C-Spine held from behind, using a face-to-face intubation technique. The primary outcome was time taken to intubate, with secondary outcomes including first pass success rate, number of intubation attempts, Cormack-Lehane (CL) view grade obtained, adverse event rate, and self-reported laryngoscopist comfort. Results Twenty-seven participants (VL n = 15, DL n = 12) completed the study. Mean time to intubate was not statistically different between VL and DL groups in any scenario. VL was associated with an increased frequency of intubation attempts (p = 0.043) and failed intubations (RR 6.4, 95% CI 0.92?44.33, p = 0.0175) in the face-to-face intubation scenario, VL was associated with a reduced incidence of poor CL view (RR 0.06, 95% CI 0.004?0.997, p = 0.0497) in the face-to-face intubation scenario, and a reduction in the frequency of dental damage (RR 0.13, 95% CI 0.02?0.96, p = 0.0165) in the supine MILNS scenario. Discussion In our small sample, we found DL to be superior to VL in relation to a reduced risk of failed intubation and frequency of intubation attempts despite VL being superior in obtaining a good view of the vocal cords in a face-to-face intubation scenario. We found no statistically significant difference in the time taken to intubate in any scenarios. A larger study is required to inform practice and education around prehospital use of VL.