Emergency physician evaluation of a novel surgical cricothyroidotomy tool in simulated combat and clinical environments

Mil Med. 2013 Jan;178(1):29-33. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-12-00266.


We sought to investigate the performance of a novel cricothyroidotomy CRIC device compared to the traditional surgical in both simulated combat environments and the emergency department (ED) setting. Twenty U.S. Army staff and resident emergency medicine physicians were randomized to device and simulated setting order and performed cricothyroidotomies in the standard manner and with the CRIC device via the TraumaMan surgical simulator in three simulated settings: the ED, a day combat environment, and a night combat environment. Differences in procedural completion for the two methods in different settings were compared by two-tailed paired t-tests. The occurrence of major and minor procedural complications and questions presented as 5-point Likert scales to describe participants' preferences of cricothyroidotomy methods were compared by chi2 analysis. Time to incision, time to procedural completion, and rate of major and minor complications were not significantly different between the standard surgical method and the CRIC device (p > 0.05). In the simulated ED setting, 60% of participants preferred the standard surgical method (95% confidence interval: 38.5-81.5), whereas in the simulated combat settings, 50% of participants preferred each device (95% confidence interval: 28.1-71.9). In our population, we observed similar operator performance characteristics and physician preferences between the 2 methods in all simulated cricothyroidotomy settings.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cricoid Cartilage / surgery*
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manikins
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Medicine
  • Thyroid Gland / surgery*
  • Young Adult