Laryngoscopy and Tracheal Intubation: Does Use of a Video Laryngoscope Facilitate Both Steps of the Procedure?
Study Objective: To compare the effect of the use of a video laryngoscope versus a direct laryngoscope on each step of emergency intubation: laryngoscopy (step 1) and intubation of the trachea (step 2). Methods: In a secondary observational analysis of data from 2 multicenter, randomized trials that enrolled critically ill adults undergoing tracheal intubation but did not control for laryngoscope type (video laryngoscope vs direct laryngoscope), we fit mixed-effects logistic regression models examining the 1) the association between laryngoscope type (video laryngoscope vs direct laryngoscope) and the Cormack-Lehane grade of view and 2) the interaction between grade of view, laryngoscope type (video laryngoscope vs direct laryngoscope), and the incidence of successful intubation on the first attempt. Results: We analyzed 1,786 patients: 467 (26.2%) in the direct laryngoscope group and 1,319 (73.9%) in the video laryngoscope group. The use of a video laryngoscope was associated with an improved grade of view as compared with a direct laryngoscope (adjusted odds ratio for increasingly favorable grade of view 3.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.47 to 3.99). Successful intubation on the first attempt occurred in 83.2% of patients in the video laryngoscope group and 72.2% of patients in the direct laryngoscope group (absolute difference 11.1%, 95% CI 6.5% to 15.6%). Video laryngoscope use modified the association between grade of view and successful intubation on the first attempt such that intubation on the first attempt was similar between video laryngoscope and direct laryngoscope at a grade 1 view and higher for video laryngoscope than direct laryngoscope at grade 2 to 4 views (P<.001 for interaction term). Conclusions: Among critically ill adults undergoing tracheal intubation, the use of a video laryngoscope was associated both with a better view of the vocal cords and with a higher probability of successfully intubating the trachea when the view of the vocal cords was incomplete in this observational analysis. However, a multicenter, randomized trial directly comparing the effect of a video laryngoscope with a direct laryngoscope on the grade of view, success, and complications is needed.