CASE REPORT
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 102-104

Severe lingual tonsillar hypertrophy and the rationale supporting early use of wire-guided retrograde intubation


University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Anesthesiology, Clinical Science Center, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Kristopher Schroeder
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, B6/319 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1658-354X.65120

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An expanding body of literature exists which describes the airway challenges and management options for lingual tonsillar hypertrophy (LTH). The use of retrograde intubation to secure a patient's airway in the setting of LTH has been previously unreported and should be considered early in the event of a cannot intubate, cannot ventilate scenario. A 55-year-old man, who had previously been described as an easy intubation, presented an unexpected cannot intubate, cannot ventilate scenario secondary to LTH. Various noninvasive airway maneuvers were attempted to restore ventilation without success. We describe the advantages of early use of wire-guided retrograde intubation as an alternative to a surgical airway for obtaining a secure airway in a patient with LTH, in whom noninvasive airway management maneuvers have failed. Multiple different noninvasive approaches to management of LTH have been previously described including the laryngeal tube, laryngeal mask airway, and fiberoptic bronchoscopy. Unfortunately, none of these noninvasive airway maneuvers successfully ventilated this patient and an invasive airway became necessary. Retrograde intubation is a less invasive alternative to the surgical airway with potentially less risk for complications. Retrograde intubation may be particularly effective in the setting of LTH as it may stent open an otherwise occluded airway and allow passage of an endotracheal tube. Skillful use of this technique should be considered early as a viable option in any case of unexpected difficult intubation due to LTH.


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