Learning curve and performance in simulated difficult airway for the novel C-MAC® video-stylet and C-MAC® Macintosh video laryngoscope: A prospective randomized manikin trial

PLoS One. 2020 Nov 19;15(11):e0242154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242154. eCollection 2020.


Difficult airways can be managed with a range of devices, with video laryngoscopes (VLs) being the most common. The C-MAC® Video-Stylet (VS; Karl-Storz Germany), a hybrid between a flexible and a rigid intubation endoscope, has been recently introduced. The aim of this study is to investigate the performance of the VS compared to a VL (C-MAC Macintosh blade, Karl-Storz Germany) with regards to the learning curve for each device and its ability to manage a simulated difficult airway manikin. This is a single-center, prospective, randomized, crossover study involving twenty-one anesthesia residents performing intubations on a Bill 1™ (VBM, Germany) airway manikin model. After a standardized introduction, six randomized attempts with VL and VS were performed on the manikin. This was followed by intubation in a simulated difficult airway (cervical collar and inflated tongue) with both devices in a randomized fashion. The primary end-point of this study was the total time to intubation. All continuous variables were expressed as the median [interquartile range] and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test. A 2-way ANOVA with Bonferroni's post hoc test was used to compare both devices at each trial. All reported p values are two sided. The median total time to intubation on a simulated difficult airway was faster with the VS compared to VL (17 [13.5-25] sec vs 23 [18.5-26.5] sec, respectively; 95% CI; P = 0.031). Additionally, on a normal airway manikin, the VS has a comparable learning curve to the VL. In this manikin-based study, the novel VS was comparable to the VL in terms of learning curve in a normal airway. In a simulated difficult airway, the total time to intubation, though likely not clinically relevant, was faster with the VS to the VL. However, given the above findings, this study justifies further human clinical trials with the VS to see if similar benefits-faster time to intubation and similar learning curve to VL-are replicated clinically.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesiology / education*
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Glottis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intubation / methods*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Laryngoscopes
  • Laryngoscopy / methods*
  • Learning Curve*
  • Manikins*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tongue
  • Video Recording

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.