Background: A new disposable flexible videoscope, the Ambu® aScope, has several potential advantages compared with reusable devices, but it is a prerequisite for its widespread use that it functions sufficiently well in the management of patients in whom difficulty with airway management is anticipated and awake intubation is indicated.
Methods: In a pilot study, 20 patients with normal airways were intubated with the aScope. Subsequently, 40 patients with predicted difficult tracheal intubation were randomly assigned to be intubated awake with either the aScope or the reusable Olympus BF videobronchoscope.
Results: All patients were successfully intubated awake. The median total intubation time, including the administration of local anaesthesia, was 278 vs. 234 s in the aScope and Olympus groups, respectively (P = 0.03). In two cases in the aScope group, the image became blurred immediately after the first injection of lidocaine via the injection channel, and the time that it took to replace the scopes was included in the intubation times.
Conclusion: Both the disposable aScope and the reusable Olympus videoscope allowed safe awake intubation in our elective patients with severely difficult, but uncompromised, airways. The occasional need to employ a spare scope because of malfunctioning would make the disposable aScope less suitable in patients with acutely compromised airways.
© 2013 The Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica Foundation. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.