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Objective: The ultrasound-guided interventions have gained widespread popularity in several aspects of anesthesia practice. In this study, we aimed to compare the preoperative evaluation tests and sonographic measurements of the upper airway for the prediction of a potentially difficult airway.
Material and Methods: In this prospective observational study, we enrolled 136 adult patients undergoing elective surgery under general anesthesia. The Modified Mallampati classification, thyromental distance, sternomental distance, and Cormack-Lehane scores were recorded. Sonographic measurements included pre-epiglottic space (PES), the distance between the midpoints of vocal cords and epiglottis (EVC). The ratio was interpreted. Main outcome is to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the upper airway ultrasound for the prediction of a potentially difficult airway.
Results: There was no statistically significant relationship between body mass index value and thyromental distance, Thyromental/Sternomental Ratio and PES/EVC ratio, Cormack-Lehane, Mallampati classification and thyromental/sternomental distance ratio (p>0.05). The sonographic measurements of airway have no significance to predict the difficult intubation and the comparison between PES, EVC and the PES/EVC ratio and assessment tests (Cormack-Lehane, Mallampati classification, thyromental and sternomental distances) was insignificant. The sternomental distance measurement was predictive for the difficult airway only in patients having body mass index more than 31.6 kg m-2.
Conclusion: Ultrasound is a useful tool for identifying the upper airway prior to anesthesia but the validity for the prediction of difficult airway is not clear. By increasing the clinical experiences and further investigations, a greater insight into its use will be gained.
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