RGN MBBS DipIMCRCS(Ed) MMed(Clin Epi)
MD FRCS(Eng) FANZCP FRCEM FACEM
I’ve just got back from another Critically Ill Airway (CIA) course at The Alfred, run by intensivist Chris Nickson of LITFL. This packed two day course is designed for anaesthetic, emergency, intensive care and rural doctors and combines a multitude of hands-on task training with immersive simulation scenarios. Great fun and highly recommended, although heavy demand means that there is a wait list for places!
For the first time, I brought along the ‘SALAD sim’ – this is the brainchild of Milwaukee anaesthetist Dr James DuCanto; we’ve used it at smaccCHICAGO and smaccDUB airway workshops and it’s nice to see the paradigm being adopted by many enthusiasts around the globe.
Suction-assisted laryngscopic decontamination (SALAD) is a task-training technique to cope with massive emesis (whether vomit or blood). Instructions on how to make one have been well-described by the inventor, Dr DuCanto. See a guide here from Airwaynautics.
In past few months I’ve been looking to refine my version for easier transport and obviate problems of large pumps and power supplies. At the Critically Ill Airway course, several people asked me how to make one. Here’s a quick guide to parts.
The Compact Vomiquin
PELICAN STORM CASE IM2500
I like this case as it has wheels and a handle, making it useful for lugging around the countryside. It contains power supply, a bilge pump, on/off switch mounted in casing, reservoir for fluid and is large enough to carry airway head and assorted airway kit.
I’ve drilled a couple of holes in the case
(i) to accommodate a marine grade rocker on/off switch (with light)
(ii) a tank fitting to connect internal pump & hose to the airway head, via socket/collar quick connect fitting
(iii) a threaded cap port in lid to allow rapid filling of reservoir with case closed
I am using the Laerdal trauma head (kindly donated by Dr Andy Buck of ETMcourse.com). This head has a metal bar that can slide via the right cheek across the mouth (obviating bag-mask ventilation, supraglottic insertion and impeding laryngoscopy) and an inflatable tongue.
I’ve kitted mine out with a cheap USB-camera on a 2m long cable, which is placed via the left nares to allow video of the oropharynx via Quicktime recording on a Macbook.
Jim DuCanto uses a separate reservoir for his ‘simulated airway contaminant’. I found that having another container to carry took up too much space, so have made a reservoir within the Pelican case using a sheet of perspex (plywood is fine) cut to shape and then secured with waterproof sealant. Initial experiments with Sikaflex were OK from a waterproofing perspective but failed under rough handling. I’ve now fibreglassed the divider into place, which adds to both waterproofing and strength. So far no problems with leaks despite multiple plane trips.
Simulated emesis can be made simply with water and food colouring – green for vomit, red for GI bleed. One can thicken it up using xantham gum powder, but to be honest I’ve found liquid vomit teaches the skill as much as using thickened versions. Omitting the use of xantham also saves on tedious pre-mixing and is easier on the pump!
To simulate the smell of vomit, one can either use white vinegar or add ‘Barfume’ (available online from the makers of ‘Liquid Ass’ faeces odour, this is s potent ‘simulated vomit’ odour which can be mixed in with the coloured water). Kudos to sim ninja Michael Borrowdale for this one!
Using barfume means props are small and easily packed, as opposed to having to carry around litres of white vinegar or source at destination!
PUMP & HOSE CONNECTORS
Rather than use a large grey water pump and variable control rheostat to control the flow, I’ve found that a simple Rule Bilge Pump (360-500) is more than able to cope with pumping simulated vomit/blood. Flow rate is adjusted by an inline valve which can be turned from full on (impressive spurting out of mouth, nose, eyes) through to intermittent bursts, down to a steady trickle or just ‘off’.
The inline valve is connected to a simple threaded hose fitting placed in the oesophagus of the airway head and secured with a worm-screw clip. The lungs can be left in situ, or removed and bronchi plugged with barb caps (saves on subsequent cleaning of the lungs).
With the head stored in the Pelican case, it’s important to be able to connect/disconnect easily. I have used standard plumbing fittings from the local hardware store.
A tank fitting is placed in a hole drilled at one end of the Pelican case and connected to the pump via flexible hose, secured with worm screw clip. The inline valve (flow control) is then attached to the head and the whole assemblage can be attached to the tank fitting. Importantly neither head nor tank need to be rotated; the collar/cap fitting allows connection with a few turns only until tight.
I took advice from the local marine store and have used a 12V MotoBatt battery which can be recharged. It’s secured in place with bungee and connected to a marine-grade rocker switch on the side of the Pelican case. This means the vomit reservoir can be filled, the head connected and case closed – with pump turned on/off via the switch out of view.
Having portable power means I don’t have to carry cables, worry about power supply at destination nor risk electrocution.
The MotoBatt battery is able to be carried in both ‘carry on’ and ‘checked’ baggage with airlines if is considered part of installed equipment, but do check beforehand as limits may apply based on Watt/Hours (typically less than 100 Wh). Rules regarding carriage of batteries as ‘spare’ or not connected to equipment should be checked before travel.
I make a point to disconnect the battery from switch, protect terminal, cover switches (secure in off position) and discuss with airlines/border protection if any concerns. especially as am also carrying what appears to be a human head onto the aircraft…
Put it all together and you have a portable ‘vomiquin’.
There’s space in the box for a couple of laryngoscopes (both DL and VL), spare suckers, bougies, ETTs, syringes, Barfume, food colouring, collapsible buckets and so on.
I have been trialling different suckers – the traditional Yankauer sucker vs open tubing vs the SSCOR Hi-D and ‘oral evacuation tool’ suckers. Some fascinating preliminary results for flow rates of various options…
Sadly the current set up doesn’t have space for a suction unit – ideally this is available on site, but if not it will need to be carried in another bag.
So – that’s it. How to make your own vomiquin using parts in most hardware store, and which can be easily packed up and transported (just empty the vomit reservoir using suction and dispose down sink). I can generally get this set up in under five minutes and pack away in same time (provided the suction works and a sink is handy!)
Was it a success at the Critically Ill Airway course? Judge for yourself? I think Chris Nickson’s smile says it all…
Coming next on KIDocs :
– comparison of different suction devices (Yankaeur, Hi-D, S3, tubing)
– other techniques for dealing with massive emesis (intubation in head down position to avoid aspiration, intubation in left lateral, deliberate intubation of oesophague with 9.0 ETT to divert GP bleed etc)
It’s good to see the topics of clinician self care being more commonly discussed, both in FOAMed circles and at regular conferences. At the recent RDASA Masterclass in SA, Thinkwell psychologist Hugh Kearns and myself delivered a short session on self care, and I was thrilled to hear Dr Roger Sexton of Doctors Health SA talk at a recent GPex session for supervisors.
Roger has done much to establish a network of ‘doctors for doctors’ here in South Australia, with the Doctors Health SA providing a bespoke service to doctors and medical students, a group that famously fail to look after their own health. Some pearls from Dr Sexton’s talk deserve a wider audience. The following is based on my synthesis of his expertise from a talk he delivered recently to GP supervisors. Check out more at the Doctors Health SA website
Have a hard look at HOW you work in your practice. Many of us are busy, making numerous decisions in a time-pressured environment. Whilst many people think decision-making in an emergency is stressful, I find that my work in ED or prehospital environment is far less stressful than that in the consulting clinic. The former situation (let’s say a resus or sorting out an unwell patient) is relatively straightforward – there’s a simple algorithm (ABC…), there are established techniques to help teamwork (shared mental model, closed-loop communication, use of cognitive aids and appropriate resource allocation etc) and the momentum is usually upwards (from critically sick, to stabilised).
Whereas in clinic (especially in primary care), the problem is often poorly-defined (early stages of disease are far-removed from textbook descriptors), there is a huge element of gestalt and risk (sieving the important from the inconsequential) and there are limitations of time and resources (no pan scan or immediate access to investigations). No small wonder that doing good primary care well is an intellectual challenge – often underestimated by those who’ve not done it – and sadly all too east to do poorly.
Whichever situation (whether a prehospital clinician, an emergency room clinician or a primary care clinician), one thing is certain – you have limited time, limited resources and important decisions need to be made with safety-netting. Three concepts can help you in your busy day.
THE WHEELBARROW : like this garden tool, you only have a finite carrying capacity. In short, there is only so much load you can carry. The lighter the load, the easier it is to get ahead. Problem is, everyone wants to dump THEIR problems into your barrow. Therefore you need effective tools avoid unsustainable load from being dumped in your barrow!
A common strategy is the idea of ‘sticky fingers’. Imagine if someone dumps a problem or task into your barrow. With ‘sticky fingers’ you HAVE to pick it up and look at it – but here’s the trick – once picked up (or accepted) you must do ONE of only three options
As doctors we are inculcated through training to try and be helpful – to solve problems. Moreover as (mostly) successful high-achievers, we tend to thrive on problem-solving and are used to taking on extra work. This a trap for new players – particularly in the first year or so post-Fellowship, when there is a natural temptation to take on exra work on committees, running rosters or running projects.
My advice? Play the long game. Take on small bite-sized chunks of work and be effecctive with them. And learn the art of saying ‘No’ (the phrase…”I’ll have to check my diary and get back to you” is an effective strategy to avoid the natural temptation to please others and say ‘yes’ to new work).
THE BATTERY : ever got home at the end of a busy day and felt mentally and physically exhausted? Of course. decision-making and stress can pound the adrenals. Getting home exhausted may lead to slumping on the couch and ‘vegging out’ – an inevitable result of the batteries being run down throughout the day. Why is this? As a clinician, we are a source of energy for others. Our decisions, our leadership are important parts of the team. But giving off energy, especially in multiple repeated consults, can rapidly deplete the battery.
So – try not to let the battery run down! Make an effort to recharge throughout the day and keep your batteries charged. Take breaks. Book ‘catch up’ slots. Get out of the office in lunch break and take time to walk around the block. Spend some time in the sun. Interact with work colleagues where possible. When rushed, make an effort to slow down. Breath. Be mindful and ‘in the moment’. Spending 10-15 mins a day in meditation or ‘being mindful’ is beneficial.
Make a conscious effort to find something positive in every interaction, even if ostensibly challenging from outside appearances. We are privileged to deal with patients throughout life’s rich tapestry. Appreciate this.
THE TENT : clinician resilience is something I am interested in. I think we need to develop skills in both cognitive resilience (making decisions under pressure) as well as emotional resilience (dealing with the impact of our work). Although challenging, being comfortable to demonstrate our soft vulnerability (rather than a hard unbreakable veneer) can be an interesting space to throw up improvements. As Brene Brown says, being vulnerable is about courage – to allow ourselves to be seen as fragile human beings. And understanding vulnerability can be the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
So – our outer protective shell – the canvas of our tent. This layer – call it RESILIENCE – protects us from the elements. rather than being rigid and inflexible, it is soft…deformable…yet affords wonderful protection even under significant pressure. Resilience is something that can be cultivated.
Of course we need supports – much like guy lines of a tent, we will need to cultivate and anchor ourselves to supports around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues. Maybe outside interests – whether sport, a hobby, religion…whatever. These anchors add to our resilience.
“Have a look at what’s happening in YOUR typical work day.
How well looked after are your wheelbarrow? Your battery? Your tent?”
As well as thinking about your wheelbarrow, your batteries and your tent, have a think about other protective approaches to long-term clinician resilience – to keep thriving and surviving…
Have a health check : senior executives in corporations have annual health checks. How many intensivists do this? How many surgeons? How many GPs?
Get good independent advice : do NOT fall into the trap of self-diagnosing or ‘corridor consults’ with colleagues – see your GP! But as well as seeking expert independent advice for your health, make sure you have appropriate advise for finances, for mental health (seeing a counsellor 6 monthly can be a powerful ‘future proofing’ technique). Seek out mentors (SoMe and FOAMed helps). And if a specific area of your life is struggling (relationship, career, spiritual) then seek appropriate expert advice.
Get fit : shift work and busy days take their toll. Make time to exercise. Get your 10,000 steps in each day. The healthier you are, the easier your work will be.
Rediscover your passion : think about what you’ve given up to be where you are today. Medical training is gruelling. University and postgraduate training eats into the time from school through to late 20s as a minimum. Whilst those in non-medical jobs may enter into the labour market early, contributing to house purchase and superannuation, clinicians-in-training work long hours for little reward for the first decade. Financial security comes late and may be compounded if working in private practice (no leave, superannuation, significant practice costs). think what you’ve given up to do medicine – friendships, sports, holidays, time with family. Is it worth it? Make time to rekindle the passions you’ve given up.
Mobilise endorphins : the best sources of endorphin are NOT the Doctors Bag or Drug Cupboard (although this is also a common trap for some!). Natural highs are found through seven sources – laughter, sex, exercise, crying, singing, music, & meditation.
Value relationships : with spouse, with family, with colleagues, with friends…and with patients!
Have roles and fulfil them : not just our role as a clinician (indeed, one should try not to define worth through ‘doctoring’) Instead anchor yourself to other roles – as parent, as partner, as colleague, as coach etc.
Fulfil existential needs : much as we should acknoledge our vulnerabilities, we shoudl also ensure our existential needs are met. As humans we crave love, hope and meaning in our lives. Teaching is a common strategy to ensure our work has meaning (remember the origins of the term ‘doctor’? Docere, to teach). Control is also important in life; lack of control over one’s destiny (common when working as a salaried junior) can be a big contributing factor to dissatisfaction and burnout.
Recognise WARNING SIGNS and HAVE A PLAN : evaluate your wheelbarrow, your batteries and your tent on a regular basis. If something is failing, do something about it!
DoctorsHealthSA is running workshops (the next is September 2016). Many conferences include speakers on self care and resilience nowadays. At the very least, make sure YOU have a GP and ensure you have regular health checks.
Bren Brown on vulnerability ‘ https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
Thinkwell – Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardener on clinician self care http://iThinkwell.com.au
Doctors Health SA – doctors for doctors (and medical students) – http://www.doctorshealthsa.com.au
Jellybean with Paramedic Rusty – http://lifeinthefastlane.com/jellybean-040-paramedic-named-rusty/
Just back from a two day GP Supervisors conference in Adelaide. Attendance at these events is mandatory for GP supervisors. Training primary care providers for the future in Australia has seen some changes over the years – responsibility for training was removed from the College (RACGP) in 2002 and devolved to ‘regional training providers’ or RTPs, of which there were many across Australia. A criticism of this was duplicaiton of processes and resources for a system which, like other specialty training programmes, could and should be under the control of the College!
A shakeup occurred in 2015, with the culling of many RTPs in an attempt to avoid duplication and the establishment of a streamlined network of ‘regional training organisations’ or RTOs. Needless to say some winners and losers across the nation. They sit under the auspices of the Dept of Health Australian General Practice Training. Again the DOH control the training, although RACGP and ACRRM now determine entry to the programme.
GPex won the contract for South Australia and are now responsible for funding training and ensuring access to training materials, with registrars following either FRACGP or FACRRM pathways.
I will keep my thoughts about the content of the conference to myself as it’s inevitable to compare content with that delivered by other RTOs. Needless to say a good conference combines necessary updates in training requirements with innovative content to help supervisors be more effective in their supervision. Of course other organisations, not least GP Supervisors Australia can help refine supervisor skills….
I see supervision as an apprenticeship – of course it’s necessary to ensure mandatory competencies across the breadth of general practice are met. To their credit, GPex have introduced the ‘GP365’ model of critical case analysis, backed up by development of a personalised learning plan. Of course those registrars on the rural pathway need to bolt on additional skills in emergency medicine as a minimum and perhaps one of anaesthetics, obstetrics or surgery.
Whilst acquisition of either FRACGP or FACRRM is the focus of most trainees, I consider it my duty to inculcate tools for lifelong learning. No surprise that this leads my trainees into discussions on metacognition, on heutagogy, on FOAMed and so on.
Many of my supervisor colleagues will invariably be keen to develop skills on how to give feedback, on dealing with difficult consultations (prescribing drugs-of-dependence is a common issue) and of course dealing with risk and uncertainty…along with the myriad of complexities around Medicare billing! Much of medical training at undergraduate and postgraduate training is hospital-based…as a consequence new GP trainees are ill-equipped to deal with uncertainty, to made decisions based on limited information with no immediate access to investigations and to practice as “one doctor-one patient-one room”
“Sadly the skill is HARD to do well – but all too easy to do poorly”
I would maintain that delivery of GOOD primary care is an exhilarating blend of risk, uncertainty and good medicine – across the breadth of practice, not the narrow lens of partialist practice.
Of course our colleagues and our patients judge the specialty of primary care according to the lowest common denominator – hence my enthusiasm for initiatives such as FOAMed to broaden corridor conversations and narrow the knowledge translation gap. SoMe platforms such as the closed ‘GPs Down Under’ Facebook group can also help normalise practice amongst disparate practitioners, as well as unite on issues such as the Medicare freeze etc.
GPex does provide a rather excellent ‘GP Supervisors Manual‘ through their online resource package (amusingly called ELMO). Despite this, some new supervisors seem uncertain on how to start off with a new GP reg. A couple of us came up with the idea of a short ‘how to’ guide for ‘unpacking the new GP registrar’.
I bashed this together in the airport on the way back to KI post conference – whilst the content is specific to GPex, it may be of interest to others. It’s tongue-in-cheek and a bit rough and ready…your feedback is appreciated.
Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine (ACRRM) – http://acrrm.org.au
Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) http://www.agpt.com.au
Common Primary Care Presentations – racgp.org.au/…/common-general-practice-presentations
GP Supervisors Australia http://gpsupervisorsaustralia.org.au
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) – http://www.racgp.org.au/home
Rural trauma – a high-speed vehicle roll over, a farming accident with a chainsaw, a gas BBQ explosion at the family picnic. These are all scenarios that may affect individuals & families…and the rural community. Occasionally a multi-agency event such as a bushfire, extreme weather event or other natural disaster will cause traumatic injuries and impact on not just local community but also on State resources.
Whilst it is true that each State has well-developed retrieval services, whether land, fixed or rotary-wing, the reality is that the help they can offer is usually distant to rural folk; response times are measured in hours, not in minutes or seconds.
For all practical purposes these services might as well be on the moon in the face of truly urgent care (catastrophic haemorrhage, impact brain apnoea, compromised airway, delivery of effective analgesia etc).
The first link in the trauma chain of survival is invariably the first responder – he or she may be a rural volunteer in a service such as ambulance, fire, SES , coastguard…or may respond as part of their job role (eg: Parks officer, tour guide)…or may be a lay member of the public who comes across an incident and is thrust into the maw of trauma care.
This impromtu response what Christina Hernon defined as the ‘immediate responder’ in her excellent talk on ‘the disaster gap’ at smaccDUB.
The Disaster Gap is the time between the moment an incident occurs, through the first call for help, and until the first of the clearheaded First Responders arrives. In this definable time gap, the only available rescuers are people who are on scene when the event happens, who may be traumatized by their experience themselves, and who, regardless of tools or training, take immediate action to help another person or make the situation better.
Of course many organisations insist on their members having an advanced first aid qualification; whilst these are useful, their proscribed content often lags behind current trauma care delivery. First responders are the initial link in the ‘trauma chain’ and there is no reason not to equip them with appropriate skills, knowledge and equipment – regardless of agency!
Whilst most interagency training is focussed on ‘mass incident’ exercises as a learning exercise, the reality is that these rarely, if ever, happen. Most of the work is in the usual business – a vehicle rollover or crash, an injured bushwalker, a farm accident, a patient needing medical care but unable to use the stairs, requiring SES and Ambulance teams etc – and yet do we ever train as a team for such circumstances?
Careflight MediSim – Delivering Necessary Trauma Education
This week we were privileged to have a visit from the Careflight MediSim team, to deliver the Trauma Care Workshop on Kangaroo Island, SA.
Launched in 2011, this innovative program from the Careflight organisation (mostly charity funded) delivers a world class trauma education system designed for rural first responders.
Despite the session having to be rescheduled, willing first responders from Parks, CFS and SA Ambulance were able to come together for an interactive day of lectures, task-training and sim sessions under the credible instruction of the approachable MediSim facilitators.
I’ve been banging on about the need for effective interagency training in rural communities for some time now. My involvement in trauma nowadays is mostly limited to involvement via the SA RERN system (a doctor responding only when needed by volunteer ambulance officers, with the goal of value-adding by performing certain interventions), in the hospital when oncall for emergency or anaesthesia and of course in trauma education through ETMcourse and EMST etc.
Whilst RERN, SAAS and of course RFDS and SAAS-MedSTAR Retrieval have a role to play, the initial care at the roadside is invariably provided by a first responder. If lucky he or she may be a part of an emergency system…or they may be in another capacity (CFS, SES, Police, Parks etc). Of course they may also be an immediate responder – a passerby who is caught up in the situation and expected to render help.
Most prehospital incidents will require input from several agencies
At a typical vehicle crash, there will be representatives from Road Crash Rescue (CFS or SES), Ambulance – typically these are unpaid volunteers in rural. Add to that Police, then RERN, and Retrieval…it can be hard to both know ‘who is who in the zoo‘ and more importantly what they can do!
Training together has clear advantages – it emphasises the need for simple interventions to make a difference and that such interventions can be performed by appropriately trained and equipped individuals regardless of agency. It also allows discussion of current protocols and equipment (such as the value of first responders, whether ambulance, fire or SES having access to tourniquets, and a suitable haemorrhage control device).
Understanding and sharing of each other’s treatment priorities (scene control & safety, patient extrication and medical needs) can be practiced by scenario training, allowing effective communication, a shared mental model and planning for ‘the real thing’
It’s time to ditch the notion of each agency training in silos and instead practice regular ‘real life’ multiagency scenarios
The MediSim team provided local Kangaroo Island first responders with a solid foundation to develop further local community resilience. Lectures covered the concept of a ‘zero survey’, triage. effective handover and of course the nuts & bolts of trauma care.
The day involved practical, hands on task-training sessions on triage, on helmet removal and immobilisation, on haemorrhage control and basic airway management.
Skills learned in the workshop were reinforced by scenario-based training on managing a casualty, involving scene awareness, leadership, role allocation and the delivery of basic care in an effective manner (simultaneous extrication, treatment and packaging of the patient) underpinned by clear communication both on-scene and with central comms.
All in all, a wonderful effort by the CareFlight MediSIm team and by the local Kangaroo Island volunteers who gave up their own time to attend this trauma workshop.
I am hopeful that we can run similar exercises in the future using local expertise. To my mind the benefits of team members who are aware of each other’s roles and operational capabilities, who have trained together and share a common goal offer immediate tangible benefits to victims of trauma.
Moreover we live in a small community – the more first responders who are trained and equipped, the more resilient our response can be – whether for an accident at home, at the roadside or in the case of a community-wide catastrophe.
A Kangaroo Island Resilience Model, akin to those overseas, is achievable if we work together.
Thanks again Careflight for visiting Kangaroo Island – come again next year!
Read more about Careflight MediSim HERE
Learn about how the Isle of Arran (Scotland) has developed a local resilience model for multi-agency training and trauma care
Principles of trauma care are taught on many courses; I recommend
Emergency Trauma Management (ETM) course – etmcourse.com (COI I instruct on ETM)
Anaesthesia, Trauma & Critical Care (ATACC) course – atacc.co.uk (COI am trying to persuade Mark Forrest to bring this course ‘down under’)
The Holmatro Rescue Experience (COI have facilitated with Holmatro extrication guru, Ian Dunbar on this in Australia, mostly teaching SES and CFS volunteers)
Many clinicians worldwide share knowledge and skills – regardless of whether background in emergency, anaesthesia, rural medicine, critical care or whether involved as doctor, nurse, paramedic or volunteer. Our common goal is to care for the patient from whatever background. By sharing such knowledge we can all become better.
Full credit for this goes to Dr James DuCanto, airway geek and innovator from Milwaukee, USA. It’s been my great privilege (and crazy pleasure) to facilitate with Jim at smacc airway workshops in Chicago and Dublin, using the SALAD sim (suction assisted laryngoscopic airway decontamination).
This is a great setup to teach techniques to manage the contaminated airway and tends to put even experienced operators under a degree of stress. Check out more on SALAD here or make your own…
But DuCanto is also notorious for innovative education – who can forget the ‘laryng-o-beer’ task trainer from smacc Chicago – a laryngoscope blade attached to a full beer bottle, with the challenge to see if could perform gently epiglottoscopy without inadvertently detaching the lid and losing the beer…
Meducation – in the Pub!
After a hectic full day of meducation at the smaccDUB airway workshop, we de-camped to the EMS Wolfpack ‘pop up’ session. This was one of many satellite get-togethers that happen at a conference like smacc, wherever there are like-minded people around. Walking into a small Irish pub, we were warmly greeted by prehospital colleagues…and with a few minutes drinks were poured, ultrasound gel was applied and the meducation (ultrasound & airway) began.
The Dublin folk, bless them, seemed to take this in their stride, calmly sipping on Guinness whilst around all around them live demos of sonography and intubation took place!
Difficult Airway Training with Chewie
A stand out success was the ‘Chewbacca mask’ challenge. If you haven’t already seen them, the Chewbacca mask emits a wookie roar when the mouth is opened. It is, quite simply, one of the silliest things on the market and has become a bit of an internet sensation. Of course, the roaring of a wookie is just what is needed when practicing difficult intubation….
Now this is idea is definitely DuCanto’s baby…but I have to share my impressions after making my own Chewbacca Difficult Airway Trainer post-smacc. It is great fun – not only to hear Chewie roar, but also to practice…
The premise is simple – take a Chewbacca mask and add it to the Laerdal airway trainer oropharynx; you can pick both up from eBay with relative ease (although needless to say the Chewbacca mask is easier to source)
The next step is to drill a couple of small holes in the Chewbacca mask and attach the oropharynx model; there is also a chin plate inside the mask – use fine picture hanging wire or fishing line to invisibly anchor the oropharynx to this pate within the mask (there are a couple of small screws on the oropharynx model that can be removed, wire threaded and then replaced)
I mounted the whole ensemble on some wood offcuts from the shed – the mask straps allow it to be slipped on/off with ease. Raising the mask allows the oropharynx to be placed in different positions, markedly changing the difficulty of this airway trainer….
Shades of Difficulty?
Now I am no expert at Wookie anatomy, so it took some experimentation to work out what was happening. With the oropharynx dropped distally, the intubation became a lot easier
But dropping the entire oropharynx lower (a degree of retrognathia), the intubation became incredibly gnarly…
In fact, at one point the ONLY view I could get of the cords was via the orbit…
…and of course airway geeks will be familiar with the ‘trans-orbital intubation technique’ – it’s in the literature and kind of makes sense…provided the eye is enucleated completely along with the orbital floor (see Fernando et al Anaesthesiology 2014 121 654 doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e31829b36af)
What else is great about this trainer?
Next up, proposed improvements to the SALAD SIM…
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