Introduction: We compared intubating with a preloaded bougie (PB) against standard bougie technique in terms of success rates, time to successful intubation and provider preference on a cadaveric airway model.
Methods: In this prospective, crossover study, healthcare providers intubated a cadaver using the PB technique and the standard bougie technique. Participants were randomly assigned to start with either technique. Following standardized training and practice, procedural success and time for each technique was recorded for each participant. Subsequently, participants were asked to rate their perceived ease of intubation on a visual analogue scale of 1 to 10 (1=difficult and 10=easy) and to select which technique they preferred.
Results: 47 participants with variable experience intubating were enrolled at an emergency medicine intern airway course. The success rate of all groups for both techniques was equal (95.7%). The range of times to completion for the standard bougie technique was 16.0-70.2 seconds, with a mean time of 29.7 seconds. The range of times to completion for the PB technique was 15.7-110.9 seconds, with a mean time of 29.4 seconds. There was a non-significant difference of 0.3 seconds (95% confidence interval -2.8 to 3.4 seconds) between the two techniques. Participants rated the relative ease of intubation as 7.3/10 for the standard technique and 7.6/10 for the preloaded technique (p=0.53, 95% confidence interval of the difference -0.97 to 0.50). Thirty of 47 participants subjectively preferred the PB technique (p=0.039).
Conclusion: There was no significant difference in success or time to intubation between standard bougie and PB techniques. The majority of participants in this study preferred the PB technique. Until a clear and clinically significant difference is found between these techniques, emergency airway operators should feel confident in using the technique with which they are most comfortable.