Background: In pre-hospital emergency care, video laryngoscopes (VLs) with disposable blades are preferably used due to hygienic reasons. However, there is limited existing data on the use of VLs with disposable blades by emergency medical staff. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of four different VLs with disposable blades and the conventional standard Macintosh laryngoscope, when used by anesthetists with extensive previous experience and paramedics with little previous experience in endotracheal intubation (ETI) in a simulated difficult airway.
Methods: Fifty-eight anesthetists and fifty-four paramedics participated in our randomized crossover manikin trial. Each performed ETI with the new Glidescope® Go™, the Dahlhausen VL, the King Vision™, the I-View™ and the Macintosh laryngoscope. "Time to intubate" was the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints were "time to vocal cords", "time to ventilate", overall success rate, number of intubation attempts and optimization maneuvers, Cormack-Lehane score, severity of dental compression and subjective impressions.
Results: The Glidescope® Go™, the Dahlhausen VL and the King Vision™ provided superior intubation conditions in both groups without affecting the number of intubation attempts or the time required for successful intubation. When used by anesthetists with extensive experience in ETI, the use of VLs did not affect the overall success rate. In the hands of paramedics with little previous experience in ETI, the failure rate with the Macintosh laryngoscope (14.8%) decreased to 3.7% using the Glidescope® Go™ and the Dahlhausen VL. Despite the advantages of hyperangulated video laryngoscopes, the I-View™ performed worst.
Conclusions: VLs with hyperangulated blades facilitated ETI in both groups and decreased the failure rate by an absolute 11.1% when used by paramedics with little previous experience in ETI. Our results therefore suggest that hyperangulated VLs could be beneficial and might be the method of choice in comparable settings, especially for emergency medical staff with less experience in ETI.