Review Published: 10 Causes of Airway Complications and How To Avoid Them

My latest review article, “Boredom Interrupted: 10 Causes of Airway Complications and How To Avoid Them”, has just been published in the August 2020 Airway Management from Anesthesiology News.

We rightfully worry about “can’t intubate–can’t ventilate” scenarios as catastrophic events. However, we often assume the risk for airway injuries to be minor. Most injuries we see tend to heal quickly and usually without major sequelae. Indeed, since many of our patients are ambulatory and discharged quickly, we may not even know they developed a complication.

This leads to a false sense of security. Injury prevention depends on realizing that we can potentially cause harm while administering our anesthetic. However, if we don’t recognize areas of risk, we can’t decrease that risk. Failure to consider risk tempts us to skip steps, rush, take short cuts or fail to prepare for the unexpected.

In this article, I discuss some airway complications that I, and my colleagues, experienced that were far more serious than cut lips and chipped teeth. Patients can die or become disabled from airway injuries. By raising your awareness of risk, you better protect your patients from harm.

My previous two review articles also discuss risks of airway management and avoiding airway complications. Links to those articles can be found here.

10 Rules For Approaching Difficult Intubation

10 Common Pediatric Airway problems — and Their Solutions

May The Force Be With You

Christine E. Whitten MD, author
Anyone Can Intubate: A Step by Step Guide
Pediatric Airway Management: a Step By Step Guide

Note, both my books are currently available at cost on the platform. Our goal is to assist with teaching airway management during the global emergency caused by the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.

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