Use of a Flexible Intubating Scope in Combination with a Channeled Video Laryngoscope for Managing a Difficult Airway in the Emergency Department

J Emerg Med. 2016 Feb;50(2):315-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2015.10.010. Epub 2015 Oct 31.


Background: Difficulty with intubation is not uncommon in the emergency setting. Video laryngoscopes (VLs) are commonly used to manage the difficult airway in the emergency department (ED). Intubation using a flexible bronchoscope, while considered the gold standard for managing the anticipated difficult airway in the operating room, is not commonly used in the ED.

Case: We present a case describing VL-assisted flexible scope intubation performed in the ED as a novel feasible approach to managing the difficult airway. A 65-year-old male, post cardiac arrest, with multiple unsuccessful attempts at prehospital intubation had rapid sequence intubation (RSI) performed and, despite obtaining a view with a King Vision™ VL, the skilled operator was unable to advance the endotracheal tube (ETT). An Ambu™ aScope3 flexible intubating scope (FIS) was placed through the ETT loaded in the channel of the King Vision and advanced through the cords to a position proximal to the carina. The ETT was then advanced easily over the FIS and down the trachea. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Although video laryngoscopy is commonly used in the ED, intubation can prove difficult, despite having an adequate view of the glottis. Use of an FIS, however, through a channeled VL makes navigation of the ETT easier and facilitates tube advancement, which can be difficult with VL. Channeled VL-assisted use of an FIS is a viable option for managing the difficult airway.

Keywords: airway management; flexible intubating scope; intubation; video laryngoscope.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Heart Arrest / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Laryngoscopes*
  • Male