New course focuses on incorporating ultrasound with airway management

Brian S. Kaufman, MD, FCCP
Brian S. Kaufman, MD, FCCP

The new course, 
Adding Ultrasound to Airway Management Crisis, will focus on how ultrasound can be used to figure out why somebody has developed complications after intubation, said Brian S. Kaufman, MD, FCCP, co-chair of the course. The ticketed course starts at 2:45 pm on Tuesday in the Hemisphere Ballroom of the convention center.

Dr. Kaufman, who is part of the CHEST airway interest group that focuses on airway management—putting breathing tubes in, using fiberoptic bronchoscopes, and hosting cadaver workshops—thought it would be helpful to have a workshop that also focuses on ultrasound.

“In the real world you do both, one right after the other,” Dr. Kaufman said. “I always thought it would be nice to have a simulation session where you have to be able to do both—manage the airway and use ultrasound to assess why someone is becoming sicker after putting the tube in or what their status is before we put the tube in. The patients we are putting these endotracheal tubes in are critically ill and often have low blood pressure, heart dysfunction, or water in the lungs.”

Dr. Kaufman said airway management and ultrasound work in conjunction to help physicians minimize complications, like the effects of converting patients from breathing on their own to breathing with a machine, which can make their blood pressure drop and cause other problems.

“That’s what real-world critical care doctors do, and we wanted to recreate that by going through a series of cases where the learners have to manage the crisis of the mannequin and use ultrasound to figure out why something has gone wrong before or after they put the breathing tube in,” Dr. Kaufman said. “This hasn’t been done before at CHEST, so that’s why we’re doing it.”

The objectives of the session include:

  • Recognize special circumstances that should lead to alternative intubation techniques.
  • Demonstrate the utility of a focused ultrasonographic evaluation in addition to clinical judgment for determining the etiology of cardiopulmonary deterioration following endotracheal intubation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to intubate the patient with a difficult airway utilizing appropriate technique and equipment.

Attendees will identify factors that suggest a difficult intubation, and employ advanced airway tools. Simultaneously, learners will utilize point-of-care ultrasonography and clinical judgment to determine the etiology of the patient’s deterioration and institute appropriate resuscitation.