Use of the Bonfils intubating fibrescope in a baby with a severely compromised airway

Paediatr Anaesth. 2013 Jul;23(7):670-2. doi: 10.1111/pan.12171. Epub 2013 May 13.


We report the successful use of a 2-mm rigid Bonfils intubation endoscope as a rescue device in a 5-week-old baby presenting with an unstable airway due to massive macroglossia and multiple hemorrhagic lymphangiomata compressing the airway and resulting in a Cormack and Lehane grade 4 view. The limited intraoral space rendered it impossible to visualize the laryngeal inlet or insert a laryngeal mask, Glidescope or Airtraq blade into the patient's mouth. A 2-mm Bonfils fibrescope passed easily into the patient's mouth and facilitated a grade 1 view of the laryngeal inlet with subsequent successful intubation at first attempt with a 3.5-mm uncuffed endotracheal tube. There are very few alternatives to rescue such an airway in this age group with this type of pathology and surgical intervention would have been difficult due to the vascular nature of the lesion. Bonfils intubation endoscopes (Karl Storz Endoscopy, Tuttlingen, Germany) are a series of reusable devices consisting of a rigid metal tube with a fixed 40° anterior tip curvature containing a fibreoptic bundle. They are available in three sizes with outside diameters of 2, 3.5, or 5 mm. The advantage of the pediatric 2-mm Bonfils fibrescope is that it allows intubation with a 2.5-mm endotracheal tube. There is a paucity of the literature pertaining to the use of the Bonfils endoscope as a rescue device for intubation of small infants and neonates. In our case, the infant's airway was compromised as a result of a receding mandible, large protruding tongue, glottic distortion, and limited intraoral space. This prevented the use of bulkier rescue airway devices with the potential for traumatic manipulation, which could have lead to rapid deterioration of an already unstable airway. We feel that many clinicians are unaware of the benefits of the Bonfils fibrescope and suggest further studies to increase its use in elective and emergency situations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management / methods*
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Bronchoscopes*
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Hemorrhage / complications
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Lymphangioma / complications
  • Macroglossia / complications
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / congenital
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tracheostomy