Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-71

Neck fat volume as a potential indicator of difficult intubation: A pilot study

1 Unit of Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Management, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy
2 Unit of Otolaryngology, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy
3 Unit of Diagnostic Imaging, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lorenzo Sabatino
Unit of Otolaryngology, Campus Bio-Medico University, via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_398_17

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Background: Direct laryngoscopy is the gold standard of the airway management in patients without predicted difficulties. If unpredicted difficulties are encountered instead, different algorithms to follow have been developed. To date, no single predictor is sufficiently valid. In clinical practice, it is used a combination of them to enhance the estimate, and despite the variety of parameters used, not all the difficult intubations are predicted. The aim of this work is to retrospectively analyze neck computed tomography scans of 37 patients who have had tracheal intubation and search for anatomic neck fat compartments that correlate with the intubation difficulty, and eventually find a suitable, clinical parameter that can potentially enhance the prediction of a difficult airway when used in combination of the preexisting scores. Materials and Methods: the patients are divided by direct laryngoscopy view into two groups: Group A (n = 31): Normal airway, with a Cormack Lehane, Score I or II; Group B (n = 6): Difficult airway, with a Cormack Lehane Score III or IV. In the zone of interest, it was measured the neck volume parameter and other subparameters. Results: Despite a positive trend is shown for anterior fat volume (AFV) (P = 0.23) and fat volume (FV) (P = 0.28), statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) were not found between Group A and B in any of the measurements acquired. Conclusions: According to the literature, our results confirmed that there is still no single element that can predict a difficult intubation. Although no statistical significance was found, the AFV and FV have shown to have a potential predictive role for difficult intubation. Further studies with bigger samples are advisable to confirm this encouraging result.

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