Management of difficult airways using a hospital-wide “Alpha Team” approach.

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Management of difficult airways using a hospital-wide "Alpha Team" approach.

Am J Med Qual. 2010 Jul-Aug;25(4):297-304

Authors: Long L, Vanderhoff B, Smyke N, Shaffer LE, Solomon J, Steuer JD

Airway management is germane to safe patient care. Keys to management of difficult airways (DAs) are the "Right People, Right Parts, and Right Place" (R3P3). Successful management of DA requires clinicians who have adequate training, experience, and equipment. Policies were implemented to optimize the management of DAs. One identified inpatients with potential DAs, whereas the other addressed creation and deployment of "Alpha Teams" (ATs). In the event of impending respiratory compromise, an AT was called in the same manner as a code blue. Health care providers were educated about these process changes, and ATs were tested using computerized patient simulators and self-paced observations. Testing assessed performance before, immediately after, and 30 days after the seminar. Changes in, and retention of, knowledge about DAs was analyzed. The goal of the R3P3 was to identify DAs and then to bring a well-trained hospital-wide AT to the bedside to decrease response time, rapidly establish a definitive airway, and improve survivability in an airway emergency.

PMID: 20606209 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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