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The Management of Difficult Direct Laryngoscopy and Intubation in a Field Hospital: An Alternative to Fibreoptic Endoscopy
  1. Lt Col JL Tong, FRCA RAMC, Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Anaesthesia1
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Anaesthesia, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham Research Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B29 6JD. j.l.tong{at}


Fibreoptic endoscopy and intubation continues to be recommended in guidelines for the management of difficult airways. Since fibrescopes are unavailable within United Kingdom field hospitals, an alternative is needed. The Airtraq optical laryngoscope is a versatile, inexpensive, single-use option, which could readily fill this void. It is easy to use and provides a full view of the glottis when direct laryngoscopy has failed. Its introduction will reinforce existing difficult airway equipment and simplify the management of ‘can ventilate - can’t intubate’ patients.

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