When purchasing new intubation technology — such as video laryngoscopes — for your OR, it’s important to do your research. You should investigate the product’s disadvantages and advantages, cost and performance, and functionality. In this blog article, we’ll help you make an informed decision before you invest.
Disadvantages and Advantages of Small Screen Video Laryngoscopes
What common design complaints do we hear from certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and anesthesiologists about the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope? Size is a big one. The laryngoscope’s small screen doesn’t offer the same picture quality as larger screens. The light tends to be less bright. And because the video laryngoscope is small (and portable), hospital administrators may be concerned about it being easily misplaced or even stolen.
With that said, the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope’s small size also has advantages. Both the handle and blade have a slim design for easier maneuverability. The slim design opens up more room in the oral cavity, which leads to reduced dental and soft tissue trauma.1 Because the laryngoscope is portable, you can take it wherever you need it. And the all-in-one design helps you focus on the patient. During intubation you are looking directly at the patient rather than looking off to the side as you would when using a separate screen.
Related: Learn how to achieve greater intubation success with video laryngoscopes. Download the clinical evidence guide.
Does a Smaller Screen and Lower Cost Mean Low Quality?
Research tells us that better glottic visualization from video laryngoscopes — large and small — can help avoid airway complications and their associated expenses.1 When a high-definition view is not needed for routine intubation, small screen laryngoscopes offer a less expensive alternative. They do have less defined screen resolution than difficult-airway devices with larger screens. However, they still provide a better glottic view than traditional direct laryngoscopy and improve first-attempt success rates.2 Because small screen laryngoscopes cost less than large screen devices, it’s much more affordable to outfit the entire hospital with video laryngoscopy technology.
Related: Learn more about the costs associated with video laryngoscopes. Read the blog post.
Are Video Laryngoscopes Hard to Use?
Are you concerned about a learning curve when moving from a direct laryngoscope to a video laryngoscope? You can use the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope like a direct laryngoscope and align the three axes (oral, pharyngeal, and laryngeal) with no additional training. To use the video screen, you may need a slightly different approach to help ensure the tube can pass through the vocal cords. For example:
- Clinicians often don’t align the three axes when they have the convenience of a video image. In those instances, stylets can help guide the tube around the unaligned axis to match the video-enabled angle (see the image below).
- Some practitioners insert video laryngoscope blades too deep to get a clear view of the vocal cords on the video screen. The tip of the blade is then pushed past the vallecula, forcing the endotracheal tube too low and making it difficult to navigate above the arytenoid cartilage. If this happens, moving the blade back to realign can help.
Training is always important when introducing new technology. You will find extensive resources and instruction on proper technique for using the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope online.
Related: Learn about best practices from global practitioners. Watch the video.
1. Greer D, Marshall KE, Bevans S, Standlee A, McAdams P, Harsha W. Review of videolaryngoscopy pharyngeal wall injuries. Laryngoscope. 2017;127(2):349-353.
2. Shin M, Bai SJ, Lee KY, Oh E, Kim HJ. Comparing McGRATH® MAC, C-MAC®, and Macintosh laryngoscopes operated by medical students: a randomized, crossover, manikin study. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:8943931.
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