Compression force on the upper jaw during neonatal intubation: Mannequin study
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AIM: Neonatal intubation is a technically challenging procedure, and pressure-related injuries to surrounding structures have been reported. The primary objective of this study was to determine the pressure exerted on the upper jaw during tracheal intubation using a neonatal mannequin. METHOD: Multidisciplinary care providers working at a neonatal intensive care unit were requested to intubate a neonatal mannequin using the standard laryngoscope and 3.0-mm (internal diameter) endotracheal tube. Compression force exerted was measured by using pressure-sensitive film taped on the upper jaw before every intubation attempt. Pressure, area under pressure and time taken to intubate were compared between the different types of health-care professionals. RESULTS: Thirty care providers intubated the mannequin three times each. Pressure impressions were observed on the developer film after every intubation attempt (n = 90). The mean pressure exerted during intubation across all health-care providers was 568 kPa (SD 78). The mean area placed under pressure was 142 mm(2) (SD 45), and the mean time taken for intubation was 14.7 s (SD 4.3). There was no difference in pressure exerted on the upper jaw between frequent and less frequent intubators. It was found that pressure greater than 400 kPa was inadvertently applied on the upper jaw during neonatal intubation, far exceeding the 250 kPa shown to cause tissue injury in animal models. CONCLUSION: The upper jaw is exposed to a significant compression force during intubation. Although such exposure is brief, it has the potential to cause tissue injury. Contact of the laryngoscope blade with the upper jaw occurred in all intubation attempts with the currently used design of laryngoscope.
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