DAS Project Grant

The successful applicants for the DAS Project Grant were:

Principal Applicant
Dr Anthony Wilkes
University of Cambridge

Developing a framework for the assessment of introducers used for difficult airway management


Scientific Abstract
Introducers are used to assist the correct placement of a tracheal tube when difficulty has been encountered during intubation. The original re-usable gum elastic bougie has been available since 1973 and there is a significant body of evidence of its effectiveness. In particular, the angled ('Coude') tip assists correct placement, and the material is such that the bougie maintains its curve when it is shaped suitable for correct placement and reduces the risk of trauma during placement. Many single-use introducers have come onto the market in the past 10 years. Some of these do not have the same properties as the original bougie: they tend to be stiffer (increasing the risk of trauma), they do not maintain their shape when curved, and the angle of the tip varies. Currently, there is no recognised framework for the assessment of introducers. We intend to develop such a framework based on previous studies and illustrate the use of the framework by carrying out an assessment of currently available introducers. Such a framework could then be formally developed into a standard (currently there is no standard for introducers) thus improving patient safety by ensuring that manufacturers develop new introducers to reflect state-of-the-art practice.