Airway management at floor level: a comparison of tracheal intubation using the Macintosh and Airtraq laryngoscopes

TL Tong, AJ Gait, Malcolm Woollard, PG Nightingale, MR Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Practitioners providing pre-hospital care during civilian practice and on military operations may be required to perform airway management and tracheal intubation at floor level. It has been shown that intubation using the Airtraq laryngoscope is easier to learn than standard Macintosh laryngoscopy. We hypothesised that the Airtraq would be easier to use and have shorter intubation times than Macintosh intubation. Sixty volunteers attending a medical conference with no prior Airtraq experience, who were skilled in pre-hospital Macintosh intubation, were recruited. Each was required to intubate an anatomically correct manikin at floor level using a Macintosh and Airtraq laryngoscope. The Airtraq was found to be superior in ease of use (VAS 30 mm, P < 0.001), had a shorter total intubation time (19.4seconds) and a higher intubation success rate (P = 0.012) than the Macintosh laryngoscope (VAS 50 mm, 20.4 seconds). Rotating the tracheal tube 90 degrees anticlockwise during loading into the guiding channel, made the Airtraq intubation easier (VAS 30 mm, P = 0.001) and faster (19.4 seconds, P < 0.001) than with standard orientation of the tube (VAS 40 mm, 25.3 seconds). Airtraq intubation may prove to be easier than Macintosh intubation, when utilised in the clinical pre-hospital setting, though randomised controlled clinical trials are required to confirm this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Royal Army Medical Corps
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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