Combined use of a videolaryngoscope and a flexible bronchoscope for awake tracheal intubation when front-of-neck airway is not an option

Document Type

Case Report


Anaesthesia; Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery


We report a case of successful tracheal intubation with the combined use of a videolaryngoscope and flexible bronchoscope in a patient with difficult airway when both techniques had individually failed. A 35-year-old man presented with airway obstruction due to massive neck swelling causing hypoxia, stridor and respiratory distress. He had a history of oral cancer which had been resected with bilateral neck dissection and free flap reconstruction 2 months previously. Due to extensive anterior neck swelling, we judged that front-of-neck airway would not be a suitable approach. After unsuccessful attempts at awake tracheal intubation with videolaryngoscopy and flexible bronchoscopy separately, we combined both techniques with a successful outcome. By using a combined technique to address the specific problems presented by this case, a life-threatening emergency was resolved. This case highlights why it is useful for anaesthetists to be familiar with multiple techniques to awake tracheal intubation, both individually and in combination.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Anaesthesia Reports