Video for Podcast 43 – Inserting the Air-Q

Folks have asked for a video to go with Podcast 43 and as always I do what folks ask for.



EMCrit Podcast 43 – Laryngeal Airways with Daniel Cook, MD (Part I)

My favorite supraglottic airway is the Cookgas Air-Q; it was created by an anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Cook. He just created a new device that allows the placement of an esophageal blocker through the laryngeal airway. I gave him a call to hear about the new product and in the course of that conversation, he gave me a ton of tips on the placement of laryngeal airways. Part II will specifically discuss the new device.

Placement of the ILA

  • Put the patient in sniffing position
  • Lube it really well (get the bottom, the cuff, and the horizontal ridges up front)
  • Dr. Cook recommends an insertion using a tongue depressor to pull the tube forward. He inserts straight back instead of riding the hard palate. If the LMA doesn’t quite turn the corner, he inserts his left index finger just posterior to the tip and flexes his finger to get the LMA to make the curve into the lower pharynx
  • He gently advances until the LMA comes to a rest—don’t push too hard
  • At this point he puts 4-5 cc of air in for the 4.5 size and 3-4 cc of air for the 3.5 size (same amount of air as the size of the LMA)

Blind Intubation through the ILA

  • First step is to lube the inside of the ILA. Use the ET tube itself—put a big glob of lube on the distal portion of the ETT and then advance it until it is just about to pop out of the keyhole opening of the ILA. This distance will be 20 cm in the 4.5 size and 18 cm in the 3.5 size (keep subtracting 2cm for each downsizing)
  • Now readvance the ETT to that same point, put your index finger on the top and use it to ever so slowly advance the ET. You can have a hand over the cricoid to feel the ETT as it passes.
  • Inflate and confirm by listening over the stomach and looking for End-Tidal CO2.
  • If you missed, pull back to that same point that is just before the opening of the cuff and inflate the ETT cuff with 1-2 cc of air. You can now reoxygenate the patient before your next attempt.
  • The second attempt should probably be with a fiberoptic device or a bougie.

Bougie Intubation through the ILA

  • First lube the ILA using the ETT, then remove the ETT
  • Advance the bougie using the coude end with the coude facing towards the ceiling.


Here is the podcast:

EMCrit Podcast 41 – Interview with Cliff Reid of

I was able to cajole Cliff Reid of the amazing blog, on to the EMCrit program. Cliff is truly a doc after my own heart as you will hear from the cast.

He is currently an EMS physician and Director of Training at the New South Wales Ambulance Service.

Cliff’s blog, is an incredible collection of timely articles on emergency medicine, ems, critical care and resuscitation.

Cliff mentions the HEMS service in London. This amazing service sends a physician/paramedic team to the scenes of bad traumas by helicopter and response cars. A well done video is available on youtube:

The winner of the Toxicology Handbook is Jenny Mendelson. Yeah!!!

photo by Mad Scientist

Click Here to Play the Podcast

EMCrit Podcast 40 – Delayed Sequence Intubation (DSI)

This is the DSI Podcast. If you want all of the great DSI information, please come to the EMCrit Delayed Sequence Intubation (DSI) Page



Origins of the Dope Mnemonic

All the way back in episode 16, I asked if anyone knew the origins of the DOPE mnemonic for post-intubation desaturation. Nobody had an answer until now. Here is an email from Ahad…
Hi there Dr.Scott.
I’m Ahad (pronounced as “AA” like when the doc wants to examine your throat then followed by “had”) an emergency medicine resident and junior educator for King Saud University at King Khalid University Hospital from Saudi Arabia.
I wanted to tell you the whole story about the mnemonic “DOPE”. It was initially used by plumbers and oil workers in the 1950s. They used a substance which was a chemical sealant called “pipe dope” to seal pipes. They used to check the integrity of the pipes by saying “Don’t forget DOPE” and also to remind them to apply it in the first place.
How they used the mnemonic is very similar to how doctors use it…
D=displacement of the pipes that are joined
O=obstruction within the pipes tested due to the substance clogging the inside of the pipe
P=pneumatic pump to test for air leaks
E=equipment failure in testing e.g hydraulics…etc
One day there was a plumbing problem and a leak was found in one of the ORs the plumbers were there and one shouted “Don’t forget DOPE” while explaining what to do to the other plumber… This incident occurred right in front of Dr.John Joseph Bonica (Wrestling Champ 1941and Anesthesiologist) and a couple of his residents/medical students (not sure) while he was explaining checking anesthesia equipments… he laughed and said “Don’t forget DOPE”.
At that time it wasn’t linked with endotrachial intubation! One of his student/residents linked it later on. That doctor was Prof.Thomas Michals who mentioned this story to the professor who told me this story Prof.Edward Luther Strivani ….
Hope that helped… By the way it was officially mentioned in the ATLS book in the 7th ed only…

EMCrit Podcast 23 – Awake Intubation for Trauma and Medical Patients

So after the awake intubation video went up on emrap tv, I got a flurry of emails telling me how cool the concept is, but questioning who this would actually be usable on.

To answer that question, we first must discuss who actually requires intubation. If you wait until the patient is apneic, then of course you can’t use awake intubation. The idea is to intubate before the patient stops breathing.

In Ron Walls’ airway manual and in his class, he gives the following reasons for intubation:

Crash-a patient who is dead or near dead

Can’t Protect Airway

Can’t Maintain Ventilation/Oxygenation

Expected decline in Clinical Status

Now some of these make sense and some not so much

Here are my reasons to intubate:

Crash-for me this is any apneic patient

Can’t Protect Airway-this one is good, a patient with pooling secretions or obtundation with vomiting buys plastic

Possible Loss of Airway-angioedema, anaphylaxis, neck trauma. These are good reasons to intubate and usually earlier is better and safer.

Oxygenation/Ventilation issues for me mean you intervene. But this doesn’t necessarily mean intubation, if the patient has a reversible problem, put them on Non-invasive instead of intubating. See the podcast.

So it all comes down to the last reason

Expected decline-this should be the reason for many ED intubations. If the patient has O2/CO2 issues and they will be getting worse, then consider intubation.

Supply/Demand Imbalance-Last reason, not discussed as often in the ED is severe metabolic acidosis or shock where the lungs are causing a huge metabolic demand in a patient without much supply.

So who can be intubated awake? Any patient except the crash airway can be intubated awake. If you think they are a difficult airway, temporize with NIV while you topically anesthetize and then do the patient awake while they keep breathing.

Who is a difficult airway, there are few good answers.

THe LEMON rule also coined by the Walls crew is probably as good as any:

Look at head and neck

Evaluate 3-3-2



Neck Mobility

see here for more

I also discuss a new possible indication for awake intubation

photo by pig sty ave

EMCrit Podcast 19 – Non-Invasive Ventilation

Intubation is a sexy procedure, there is no doubt about it.

NIV does not have the glamour; it’s not nearly as cinematic. But for the patient, to spend 30 minutes on a NIV mask is preferable to a couple of days on the ventilator. In this episode, I discuss some of the basic ideas and methods of NIV.

It is pretty simple as the mode only has 3 main settings:

FiO2 – set based on oxygen requirements, just like on the vent

PEEP/EPAP/CPAP – all the same thing, set this based on OXYGENATION needs. If the patient’s sat is low, start at 5 cm H20 and titrate up to 15-17 as needed.

PSV/IPAP – this setting is for ventilation. If your patient does not have ventilation problems, they don’t need PSV. If they do, start at 5 cm H20 and titrate to 15-17.

Yes, that’s right, I did not tell you to put every patient at 10/5. Very few of your patients will have both ventilatory and oxygenation problems. Asthma and COPD need inspiratory support. APE, atelectasis, pneumonia patients need PEEP.

I also talk about sedation while a patient is on NIV.

EMCrit Podcast 15 – the Severe Asthmatic

Don’t intubate the severe asthmatic,

try NIV first

continue the nebs on the NIV

obviously they need steroids and throw in Mag Update: (3 MG RCT tells us to skip the Magnesium even in severe asthma)

does ketamine work? maybe…

If you intubate, Ron Walls says add lidocaine to your sedative and paralytic

if you put them on the vent make sure your plateau pressure stays below 30 cm H20

or make sure the flow graph shows flow has stopped before the next breath


Here is the vent lecture:

Not the Greatest Vent Lecture Ever

EMCrit Podcast 5 – Intubating the Critical GI Bleeder

We’ve had a  few gruesome airways in patients with GI bleeds and bellies full of coffee ground emesis.

This is a top 10 list encompassing my approach to this difficult situation:

1. Empty the Stomach

Place a salem sump and suck out all of the stomach contents.
Varices are not a contraindication (see: Digest Dis 1973;18(12):1032, Gastrointest Endosc. 2004 Feb;59(2):172-8, and Anesth Analg 1988;67:283)

Administer Metoclopramide 10 mg IVSS

2. Intubate the Patient with HOB at 45°

Semi-Fowler’s position will keep the gastric contents from moving up the esophagus

3. Preoxygenate like mad

You do not want to bag these patients, give yourself a preox cushion

4. Intubation Meds

Use a sedative that is BP stable, use reduced doses.

These patients NEED paralytics. You need to optimize first pass success. Paralytic agents actually increase the lower esophageal sphincter tone (Br J Anaesth 1984;56:37).

5. Gather your equipment to optimize first pass

Use fiberoptic laryngoscopy if you have it (e.g. Glidescope)

At the bedside, have a bougie, an LMA, a meconium aspirator (more below), and 2 suction set-ups

Wear eye protection!

6. If you need to bag after a failed attempt…

Bag gently and slowly (10 times a minute)
Consider placing an LMA if you need to bag.

7. If the patient vomits: Trendelenberg

This potentially keeps the emesis out of the lungs

8. Meconium Aspirator

If the normal suction is too slow, attach the meconium aspirator to your ET tube. See this post on a novel ETT suction set-up for the full description.


9. No ABX for Aspiration

Aspiration in the initial phases is a chemical pneumonitis, not a bacterial pneumonia

See Marik’s article (NEJM 2001;344(9):665)

10. SIRS

Expect a sepsis-like syndrome from the aspiration. This folks may need pressors and tons of additional fluid

EMCrit Podcast 4 – Awake Intubation

The video for this lecture is up at this link.

Awake intubation can save your butt.

It requires forethought and humility–you must be able to say to yourself, “I am not sure I will be able to successfully intubate this patient.” However, the payoff for this thought process is enormous. You can try an intubation in the ED with very few downsides. If you get it, you look like a star, if you don’t you have not made the situation worse.

Two of my critical care resident specialists, Raghu Seethala and Xun Zhong, volunteered to intubate each other awake. The purpose of this was to let them gain experience, understand what their patients would feel during the procedure, and to prove that awake intubation can be done without complicated nerve block injections or fragile equipment, such as a bronchoscope.

Here is the procedure for ED Awake Intubation–EMCrit Style:


If you can give it early 10-15 min before topicalizing, it will be most effective.

  • Glycopyrolate: 0.2 mg IVP (No central effects – does not cross BBB. You can use atropine, but more side effects are possible)
  • Suction and then pad mouth dry with gauze – you want the mouth very dry!


  • 5 cc of 4% lidocaine nebulized @ 5 liters per min
  • Gargle with viscous lidocaine (4% best, 2% ok). Place a blob (~3 cc) on a tongue depressor, put it in the back of the throat and have the patient gargle and then spit
  • Spray the epiglottis, cords, and trachea with 4% lidocaine (3 cc) in a Mucosal Atomizer Device (MAD). The patient will cough during this spraying, wear eye/face protection
  • Have another syringe loaded with 4% lidocaine to spray with during the procedure

Note: the systemic and pulmonary absorption from this method is quite low. The only place to watch out is spraying the trachea. I would not spray more than 2-3 cc down the ol’ windpipe.

SEDATE (Choose one!)

  • Ketamine and propofol in the same syringe makes Ketofol. The classic mix is 50 mg of ketamine to make 5 cc and 50 mg of propofol to make 5 cc. Put these both in a 10 cc syringe and shake. Depending on the patient’s hemodynamics, I sometimes will use more ketamine (75% instead of 50%). Give 1-2 cc every minute until you have the patient relaxed, but still breathing and arousable.
  • Ketamine alone also works just fine. Start with 20 mg and give 10 mg every minute or so.
  • If you have it, Dexmedetomidine also works very well as long as your patient is not bradycardic.
  • If you have neither of these 2 mg of midazolam will do just fine.
  • Preoxygenate with NRB

  • Optimally position (ear to sternal notch) with the head tilted all the way back

  • Restrain both arms with soft restraints to prevent the “grabbies”

  • Switch to nasal cannula

  • INTUBATE with Fiberoptic laryngoscope and bougie

  • If the patient coughs or is uncomfortable after placing the bougie through the cords, push the remainder of the ketofol syringe.

  • Thread  the tube over the bougie with the laryngoscope still in the mouth

  • Confirm tube placement

That’s all for this week

For more info on awake ED intubation, you can view a complete lecture here

Thanks to Raghu and Xun for risking their singing careers and to Jimmy & Anita for technical support. *
The opinions on this site and in the video represent the author’s and not the opinions or policies of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine or Elmhurst Hospital Center. It is not my intention to provide specific medical advice for any individual patient. Please confirm anything on this video with your own clinical judgment and the policies and procedures of your institution. This video is for education purposes only; it does not represent a standard of care or clinical advice.