Comparison between Glidescope and Lightwand for tracheal intubation in patients with a simulated difficult airway

Korean J Anesthesiol. 2015 Feb;68(1):22-6. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2015.68.1.22. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Background: Although Lightwand and Glidescope have both shown high success rates for intubation, there has been no confirmation as to which device is most effective for difficult endotracheal intubation. We compared the Glidescope and Lightwand devices in terms of duration of intubation and success rate at the first attempt in a simulated difficult airway situation.

Methods: Fifty-eight patients were randomized to undergo tracheal intubation with either the Glidescope (Glidescope group, n = 29) or the Lightwand (Lightwand group, n = 29). All patients were fitted with a semi-hard cervical collar in order to simulate a difficult airway, and intubation was attempted with the assigned airway device. The data collected included the rate of successful endotracheal intubation, the number of attempts required, the duration of the intubation, as well as the interincisor distance, hemodynamic variables, and adverse effects.

Results: There was no difference between Glidescope group (92.6%) and Lightwand group (96.4%) in terms of success rate for the first attempt at intubation. The duration of successful intubation for the first tracheal intubation attempt was significantly longer in Glidescope group than in Lightwand group (46.9 sec vs 29.5 sec, P = 0.001). All intubations were completed successfully within two intubation attempts. The incidence of hypertension was significantly higher in Glidescope group than in Lightwand group (51.9% vs 17.9%, P = 0.008).

Conclusions: In a simulated difficult airway situation, endotracheal intubation using Lightwand yielded a shorter duration of intubation and lower incidence of hypertension than when using Glidescope.

Keywords: Airway management; Intubation; Laryngoscopes; Light; Transillumination.