First-Pass Success of Intubations Using Video Versus Direct Laryngoscopy in Children With Limited Neck Mobility

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Objective: It is not clear whether video laryngoscopy (VL) is associated with a higher first-pass success rate in pediatric patients with limited neck mobility when compared with direct laryngoscopy (DL). We sought to determine the association between the laryngoscopy method and first-pass success.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we examined intubation data extracted from 2 prospectively collected, multicenter, airway management safety databases (National Emergency Airway Registry and the National Emergency Airway Registry for children), obtained during the years 2013-2018 in the emergency department. Intubations were included if patients were aged younger than 18 and had limited neck mobility. We compared first-pass success rates for ED intubations that were performed using VL versus DL. We built a structural causal model to account for potential confounders such as age, disease category (medical or trauma condition), other difficult airway characteristics, use of sedatives/paralytics, and laryngoscopist training level. We also analyzed adverse events as a secondary outcome.

Results: Of 34,239 intubations (19,071 in the National Emergency Airway Registry and 15,168 in the National Emergency Airway Registry for children), a total of 341 intubations (1.0%) met inclusion criteria; 168 were performed via VL and 173 were performed via DL. The median age of patients was 124 months (interquartile range, 48-204). There was no difference in first-pass success between VL and DL (79.8% vs 75.7%, P = 0.44). Video laryngoscopy was not associated with higher first-pass success (odds ratio, 1.11; 95% confidence interval 0.84-1.47, with DL as a comparator) when a structural causal model was used to account for confounders. There was no difference in the adverse events between VL and DL groups (13.7% vs 8.7%, P = 0.19).

Conclusion: In children with limited neck mobility receiving tracheal intubation in the ED, neither VL nor DL was associated with a higher first-pass success rate.