There is now a single use flexible intubating device that compares favourably with conventional fibreoptic devices. It does not have fibreoptic cables, but rather has a small camera at its tip illuminated by an LED. The image is transmitted via a cable in the device to a reusable screen. Dr Cook’s team in Bath, England have an extensive track record of evaluating new airway devices, and they report their assessment of this gadget in a manikin-based study. I think this may extend the airway management options to departments or teams for whom the cost and maintenance of conventional fibreoptic equipment is prohibitive.
We compared the Ambu aScope™ with a conventional fibrescope in two simulated settings. First, 22 volunteers performed paired oral and nasal fibreoptic intubations in three different manikins: the Laerdal Airway Trainer, Bill 1 and the Airsim (a total of 264 intubations). Second, 21 volunteers intubated the Airway Trainer manikin via three supraglottic airways: classic and intubating laryngeal mask airways and i-gel (a total of 66 intubations). Performance of the aScope was good with few failures and infrequent problems. In the first study, choice of fibrescope had an impact on the number of user-reported problems (p=0.004), and user-assessed ratings of ease of endoscopy (p<0.001) and overall usefulness (p<0.001), but not on time to intubate (p=0.19), or ease of railroading (p=0.72). The manikin chosen and route of endoscopy had more consistent effects on performance: best performance was via the nasal route in the Airway Trainer manikin. In the second study, the choice of fibrescope did not significantly affect any performance outcome (p=0.3), but there was a significant difference in the speed of intubation between the devices (p=0.02) with the i-gel the fastest intubation conduit (mean (SD) intubation time i-gel 18.5(6.8)s, intubating laryngeal mask airway = 24.1(11.2)s, classic laryngeal mask airway = 31.4(32.5)s, p=0.02). We conclude that the aScope performs well in simulated fibreoptic intubation and (if adapted for untimed use) would be a useful training tool for both simulated fibreoptic intubation and conduit-assisted intubation. The choice of manikin and conduit are also important in the success of such training. This manikin study does not predict performance in humans and a clinical study is required.
Evaluation of a single-use intubating videoscope (Ambu aScopeTM) in three airway training manikins for oral intubation, nasal intubation and intubation via three supraglottic airway devices
Anaesthesia. 2011 Apr;66(4):293-9