Attendees can choose their own adventure through video in airway management session

David G. Bell, MD, FCCP
David G. Bell, MD, FCCP

Attendees will have the chance to make their own decisions in how to manage the airway in critically ill patients by selecting video segments that follow certain paths during the session Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in Difficult Airway Management.

“They’re going to have a point of view of the staff/physician in the ICU,” said Col. David G. Bell, MD, FCCP. “There’s going to be an issue, and when there are decision points, we’ll give attendees a few options to choose from. The group will quickly answer, and the decision from the majority will dictate where we go next with the scenario.”

This interactive session starts at 7:30 am on Monday in room 210AB of the convention center. Dr. Bell said handling someone who needs airway management in the ICU happens infrequently, but it is high-risk.

“Although there are guidelines, there are different ways of approaching the situation—different comfort levels and different environments—so we’re going to go over a scenario that can evolve based off of their decisions in terms of managing their airway. It will start with identifying that the person needs to be intubated and then getting them successfully to a definitive airway,” said Dr. Bell, associate dean of graduate medical education at San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium.

At each branch point, depending where the attendees decide to land, the session leaders will pause and add some of the background information, go over the learning objectives, and review where the literature can inform about how to approach it more optimally.

Each attendee will vote through an audience response clicker. Dr. Bell said it’s important to remember that in a lot of places, there is no wrong answer, just different ways to approach it, and a lot of gray area.

Because everything happens at once in airway management, things seem simple in concept, but when you put them in practice, it becomes very challenging to keep up with everything, he added.

“I think this is a more effective teaching tool than going through it in a lecture format because we’re going to try and immerse the learner,” he said. “We’re not going to pause and put information on a slide for someone to peruse and mull over. They’re going to hear things like they would in a room, and there’s not going to be something written down. And if they missed it, they missed it. They’re going to be working with incomplete information when they have to make a decision.”

Dr. Bell said the learning objectives of this session are reminders that you need to have your team focus on some of these core principles of airway management and achieve those before you get ahead of yourself and get into further decisions down the road.

“I think this also highlights that airway management is a team sport, and the person who is the team leader is critical, but they have to be surrounded by a team that has a shared understanding of how things are going to proceed,” he said. “If you have a team that’s trained, you can unburden that team leader from worrying about everything to being very focused on the specific main issues that require a team leader to make a decision.”