The Difficult Airway in Adult Critical Care

Gavin G. Lavery, MD, FCARSCI, MB, BCh, BAO; Brian V. McCloskey, MB, BCh, FRCA, FFARCSI, MRCP


Crit Care Med. 2008;36(7):2163-2173. 

In This Article


Critical care patients exhibit airway difficulties, which include all the scenarios found in anesthesia but in an environment and context that may be less favorable. The difficult airway frequently needs to be maintained over a prolonged period and the process of decannulation is potentially life-threatening. All critical care physicians need to be familiar with difficult airway algorithms and have the skills to use the necessary airway adjuncts. It is important that other critical care staff have the ability to provide support during difficult airway maneuvers. We should view all critical care airway problems as potentially difficult and plan accordingly.


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