Bougie-assisted cricothyroidotomy: Delphi-derived essential steps for the novice learner

CJEM. 2019 Mar;21(2):283-290. doi: 10.1017/cem.2018.386. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Objective: A cricothyroidotomy is a life-saving procedure, performed as a final option to emergency airway algorithms, and is essential for all clinicians who perform emergency airway management. The bougie-assisted cricothyroidotomy (BAC) is a novel technique that may be performed faster and with fewer complications than other traditional approaches. There is no established standard set of steps to guide the instruction of BAC performance. This study sought to systematically develop a BAC checklist for novice instruction using a modified Delphi methodology and international airway experts.

Methods: A literature review informed the creation of a preliminary BAC checklist. A three round, modified Delphi method was used to establish a BAC checklist intended for novice-level instruction. The consensus level for each step and the final checklist were predefined at 80%. Participants were international airway experts identified by study personnel and snowball sampling.

Results: Fourteen international airway experts across six acute care specialities participated in the study. The checklist was refined using a seven-point rating scale for each item and participant comments. A 17-item checklist was developed with expert consensus achieved after three rounds. Internal consistency, measured with Cronbach's α, was 0.855 (95% confidence interval 0.73-0.94).

Conclusion: This modified Delphi-derived checklist is the first systematically developed list of essential steps for guiding BAC instruction for novice learners. This tool serves to standardize BAC skill instruction and provide learners with a structured and consistent set of steps for deliberate practice.

Keywords: airway; education/methods; education/teaching; performance improvement; qualitative research.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management / methods*
  • Checklist
  • Cricoid Cartilage / surgery*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Thyroid Cartilage / surgery*