Fayed M, Nowak K, Angappan S, Patel N, Abdulkarim F, Penning DH, and Chhina AK. Emergent Surgical Airway Skills: Time to Re-evaluate the Competencies. Cureus 2022; 14(3):e23260.
Introduction: One of the most challenging scenarios an anesthesia provider can face is treating a can't intubate can't ventilate (CICV) patient. The incidence of CICV is estimated to be around one in 10,000 cases. According to the American Society of Anesthesiology Closed Claims Study, adverse respiratory events are the most common type of injury, with difficult intubation and ventilation contributing to the majority of these cases. The objective of this non-interventional quality improvement project was to evaluate the prior training, exposure, and self-reported confidence in handling the CICV scenario among anesthesia providers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI.
Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed via email to all residents, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and attending anesthesiologists in March 2021. The email contained a link to an online questionnaire via Microsoft Forms (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA). Univariate group comparisons were carried out between the respondents' role (attending, CRNA, or resident), as well as between the number of years that the respondents were in practice (< 5 years, 5-10 years, > 10 years).
Results: Out of the total 170 anesthesia providers, 119 participated in the study where 54 (45%) were attendings, 44 (37%) were residents, and 21 (18%) were CRNAs. The majority (75%) did not know the surgical airway kit location, and 87% had not performed the surgical airway procedure before. The vast majority (96.7%) recommended simulation training compared to online training or lecture series, and just over 50% recommended annual training frequency. When looking at the differences in responses based on years of experience as an anesthesia provider, the majority of those with > 10 years in practice knew how to perform the surgical airway technique while respondents with < 5 years did not know how to perform the technique, and 50% of those with five to 10 years experience knew how to perform the surgical airway procedure for a CICV scenario.
Conclusion: Although there were many significant differences observed between the various provider roles and years in practice, surprisingly, the responses revealed both a lack of experience and confidence in performing the surgical airway procedure in all provider roles. These findings highlight a need for better emergency airway teaching and training. These findings will be used to guide the design and implementation of improved surgical airway training for residents, CRNAs, and attending anesthesiologists with the goal of better preparedness for handling a CICV scenario.