Management of the difficult airway is an essential skill that should be taught during an anesthesiology residency. The UTHealth Department of Anesthesiology developed a formal advanced airway rotation as an integral part of our residency program, consisting of two 1-month rotations during the residency, each with a different focus. During these two 1-month rotations, emphasis is placed on intubation techniques that can be used during difficult airway scenarios. We believe depth and breath of experience is important, and teach a variety of techniques, such as flexible scope intubation (awake/asleep), as well as combination approaches to managing a difficult airway. Our goal is for the resident to feel very comfortable using these alternative techniques on normal airways so that when the time comes, the resident will be comfortable using them during the management of a difficult airway.
The rotation also includes a hands-on, two-hour airway workshop in the surgical skills center which involves the use of simulation and pig tracheas. During the workshop, residents perform invasive airway techniques such as jet ventilation, retrograde intubation and both percutaneous and surgical cricothyrotomy. During the dedicated airway rotations, residents also participate in a number of clinical investigations involving innovative airway equipment and perform a critical appraisal of the most up-to-date literature on airway-related topics during journal club sessions.
Carin Hagberg, MD
Director, Advanced Airway Rotation
Joseph C. Gabel Professor and Chair