Laryngoscope Insertion Caution

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Thanks to paramedic educator Chris Cannon for this guest post. If you would like to guest post or review on Everyday EMS Tips check out the guidelines here.

“Hold it all dainty-like when you enter the mouth…”

That was the statement from one of our paramedic students today during component skills labs, after I reminded them to be VERY careful when inserting the laryngoscope into a patient’s mouth. The student was being sarcastic, but I thought it was a great synopsis of the day’s lesson.

The chance for trauma to a patient’s teeth, oral cavity, and other anatomy is greatly increased if a firm laryngoscope grip is used during insertion. To help prevent trauma during intubation, use a fingertip-only grip when inserting the laryngoscope. This not only protects the patient but also offers greater tactile feedback from the blade. The fingertip-only grip is done prior to actual visualization: once you are looking, you can use whatever grip is comfortable.

This is not a new concept. We teach it during initial airway training, our students hear it again throughout clinical training, and the folks at The Difficult Airway Course emphasize this during their program. This is just a quick reminder that our patients (and maybe, their dentists) can thank us for later.

Chris Cannon is the Paramedic Program Director and Department Chair at Cowley College www.cowley.edu/paramedic. When he’s not teaching he enjoys plotting shenanigans with his 3-year-old daughter.