NYMC Faculty Publications

Video versus Direct Laryngoscopy in Novice Intubators: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Second Department



Video laryngoscopy (VL) is increasingly used in airway management and has been shown to decrease the rate of failed intubation in certain clinical scenarios, such as difficult airways. Training novices in intubation techniques requires them to practice on living patients; however, this is less than ideal from a safety perspective given the increased risk of complications after multiple attempts or failed intubation by inexperienced trainees. One setting in which VL may be beneficial is in training, although whether these devices should be used among novices instead of direct laryngoscopy (DL) remains unclear. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to compare the outcomes of VL and DL when used by novices to perform intubation in the operating room. The secondary aims are to correlate outcomes with different types of VLs and with different types of novices, such as medical students, residents, and non-anesthesiology trainees. Databases were searched for studies that compared the outcomes of VL versus DL in endotracheal intubation performed by novices on patients with expected normal airways and no history of difficult intubation or cervical spine instability undergoing general anesthesia in the operating room. The primary outcome was the initial success rate. The secondary outcomes were time to intubate and the number of unintended esophageal intubations. A meta-analysis was performed to determine the difference, if any, in outcomes between VL and DL. Sub-analyses were also performed after the stratification of data by the type of VL used and the type of novice. Ten studies were included with 1,730 intubations. Studies varied by VL type and novice type. The overall results from the meta-analysis demonstrated an increased success rate and decreased time to intubate with VL compared to DL. Four studies showed a reduction in esophageal intubation with VL compared to DL. Sub-analysis by VL type showed that improved outcomes with VL over DL were maintained only with the use of channeled VLs rather than non-channeled VLs. Sub-analysis by novice type showed that improved success rates with VL over DL were maintained only among medical students. Novices may have a higher initial success rate and faster intubation time when using a channeled VL compared to DL. Medical students also show improved success rates when using VL rather than DL, while residents and other types of novices do not. These findings may help guide clinicians in determining the most effective devices to use when teaching airway management while also maintaining the highest possible level of patient safety.