Difficult tube – Easytube

French pre-hospital physicians included the Easytube, which is similar to the Combitube, in their difficult airway algorithm. They describe the insertion method as:

..inserted blindly, the patient’s head must be in neutral position. Manually opening the patient’s mouth and pressing the tongue gently toward the mandible, the tube is inserted parallel to the frontal axis of the patient until the proximal black ring mark is positioned at the level of the incisors. If the EzT is inserted blindly, the tip is likely to be positioned in the esophagus with a probability of more than 95% [3]. Ventilation of the patient should be performed using a colored lumen, and the transparent lumen can then be used to insert a gastric tube or to drain gastric contents.

The authors suggest that the main advantages of the Ezt are: shorter insertion time for Ezt than for ETI, better protection against aspiration than a laryngeal mask and the possibility of blind insertion of the Ezt in patients trapped in a sitting position.

BACKGROUND: Securing the airway in emergency is among the key requirements of appropriate prehospital therapy. The Easytube (Ezt) is a relatively new device, which combines the advantages of both an infraglottic and supraglottic airway.

AIMS: Our goal was to evaluate the effectiveness and the safety of use of Ezt by emergency physicians in case of difficult airway management in a prehospital setting with minimal training.

METHODS: We performed a prospective multi-centre observational study of patients requiring airway management conducted in prehospital emergency medicine in France by 3 French mobile intensive care units from October 2007 to October 2008.

RESULTS: Data were available for 239 patients who needed airway management. Two groups were individualized: the “easy airway management” group (225 patients; 94%) and the “difficult airway management” group (14 patients; 6%). All patients had a successful airway management. The Ezt was used in eight men and six women; mean age was 64 years. It was used for ventilation for a maximum of 150 min and the mean time was 65 min. It was positioned successfully at first attempt, except for two patients, one needed an adjustment because of an air leak, and in the other patient the Ezt was replaced due to complete obstruction of the Ezt during bronchial suction.

CONCLUSION: The present study shows that emergency physicians in cases of difficult airway management can use the EzT safely and effectively with minimal training. Because of its very high success rate in ventilation, the possibility of blind intubation, the low failure rate after a short training period. It could be introduced in new guidelines to manage difficult airway in prehospital emergency.

The Easytube for airway management in prehospital emergency medicine
Resuscitation. 2010 Nov;81(11):1516-20