Randomized Controlled Trial Comparative Study
We compared the transverse and longitudinal approaches to ultrasound-guided identification of the cricothyroid membrane, to determine which was faster and more successful. Forty-two anaesthetists received a one-hour structured training programme consisting of e-learning, a lecture and hands-on training, and then applied both techniques in a randomised, cross-over sequence to obese females with body mass index 39.0 - 43.9 kg.m(-2). The mean (SD) time to identify the cricothyroid membrane was 24.0 (12.4) s using the transverse technique compared with 37.6 (17.9) s for the longitudinal technique (p = 0.0003). ⋯ All anaesthetists were successful in identifying the cricothyroid membrane with at least one of the techniques. We advocate the learning and application of these two techniques for identification of the cricothyroid membrane before starting anaesthesia in difficult patients, especially when anatomical landmarks are impalpable. Further use in emergency situations is feasible, if clinicians have experience and the ultrasound machine is readily available.
The aim of this impact study was to compare the analgesic efficacy and side effect profile of programmed intermittent epidural boluses (PIEB)+patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) to continuous epidural infusion (CEI)+PCEA for maintenance labor analgesia after the introduction of PIEB at our institution. ⋯ Using PIEB compared to CEI as the background maintenance epidural analgesia method in conjunction with PCEA reduced the number of women requiring clinician rescue boluses while providing comparable labor analgesia. The findings of this clinical care impact study confirm the results of randomized controlled studies and suggest PIEB may be a preferable technique to CEI for the maintenance of labor analgesia.
What's worth knowing?
Overall most studies of PPE efficacy are of low quality and offer a low certainty of conclusions. Caveat emptor...
- Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with coverall may be more protective than N95 masks and gown (RR 0.27), but create unique donning challenges.
- Long-gowns may be better than a coverall, but are also more difficult to doff. Gowns are better than aprons. Better sealing, fitting, and one-piece removal at gown-glove interfaces and closer fit around the neck may reduce exposure.
- Double-gloving may reduce exposure.
- Better training, computer simulation, video lectures, following CDC protocols, and spoken instruction may improve donning and doffing compliance.
Lockhart et al. provide a considered exploration of COVID-19 infection-control issues specific to anaesthesiologists, proposing an additional third category of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Give it to me in point form!
They propose three PPE types:
- Droplet & contact precaution PPE: surgical mask, gown, gloves.
- General airborne, droplet & contact PPE: addition of N95 respirator mask and eye protection.
- PPE for high-risk aerosol-generating medical procedures: addition of gown neck protection and double gloves.
Why should I take notice?
The Canadian view on PPE is tempered by both their current significant COVID burden, and their experience of the 2003 SARS pandemic which infected 257 Canadians, 20% of whom were healthcare workers. Much of our PPE evidence is based upon SARS. This article emphasises the importance of PPE for anaesthesiologists and their airway assistants.
On airborne spread?
Unfortunately much of what we did not know about respiratory spread and SARS in 2005 persists today:
Although this observation [about lack of knowledge of SARS infectious droplets] was made 15 years ago, basic questions regarding nosocomial spread during the SARS epidemic, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, have yet to be answered.
Absence of evidence however, should not imply evidence of absent airborne spread.
The role of airborne particles in the spread of COVID-19 remains unclear, although Lockhart notes the infamous case of Hong Kong's Amoy Gardens housing complex in the 2003 SARS outbreak, resulting in 187 cases – likely via airborne spread.
Endotrachial intubation has been shown in several studies to be a high-risk procedure for healthcare worker infection. Considering this the authors reccomend a third level of PPE, adding:
- AAMI level-2 gown, incluidng neck protection, noting that the neck is a high-risk area for contamination in simulation studies.
- Double gloves that overlap the sleeve, noting that the gown-glove interface is a common PPE failure site, and that Verbeek's 2020 Cochrane review concluded that there was less contamination vs single gloving (RR 0.36).
- Only allow presence of essential staff in room during AGP.
- Provide access to shower resources for staff after high-risk AGP.
- Do not ‘‘MacGyver’’ homemade combinations of PPE.
- Doffing is a high-risk critical moment, that should not be rushed, distractions should be minimised, and use a doffing supervisor. Pay attention when donning to ease later doffing.
- Masks should be the last item removed.
Lockhart emphasises that there is no ideal PPE, but by focusing on consistent protection at known high-risk interactions (ie. intubation) safety improvements can be made.summary
Human decision making involves the deliberate formulation of hypotheses and plans as well as the use of subconscious means of judging probability, likely outcome, and proper action. ⋯ This article provides an overview of known cognitive strategies, as well as a synthesis of their use in critical care. By understanding the ways by which humans formulate diagnoses and make critical decisions, we may be able to minimize errors in our own judgments as well as build training activities around known strengths and limitations of cognition.