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

Managing the Difficult Airway

This has been considered under three headings: a) the anticipated difficult airway; b) the unanticipated difficult airway; and c) the difficult airway resulting in a cannot intubate and cannot ventilate situation.[74]

Those involved in airway management must have: a) expertise in recognition/assessment of the potentially difficult airway; b) the ability to formulate a plan (and alternatives) for airway management;[1,2,75,76,77] c) familiarity with schemes that outline a sequence of actions designed to maintain oxygenation, ventilation, and patient safety. (The American Society of Anesthesiologists difficult airway algorithm[1] is the most widely promulgated example. Another is the airway plans from the Difficult Airway Society);[75] and d) the skills and experience to use airway adjuncts, particularly those relevant to the unanticipated difficult airway.


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