A prospective, cohort evaluation of major and minor airway management complications during routine anaesthetic care at an academic medical centre

J. M. Huitink*, P. P. Lie, I. Heideman, E. P. Jansma, R. Greif, N. van Schagen, A. Schauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to develop an audit tool to identify prospectively all peri-operative adverse events during airway management in a cost-effective and reproducible way. All patients at VU University Medical Center who required general anaesthesia for elective and emergency surgical procedures were included during a period of 8 weeks. Daily questionnaires and interviews were taken from anaesthesia trainees and anaesthetic department staff members. A total of 2803 patients underwent general anaesthesia, 1384 men and 1419 women, including 2232 elective patients and 571 emergency procedures, 697 paediatric and 2106 adult surgical procedures. A total of 168 airway-related events were reported. The incidence of severe airway management-related events was 24/2803 (0.86%). There were 12 (0.42%) unanticipated ICU admissions, two patients (0.07%) required a surgical airway. There was one (0.04%) death, one cannot intubate cannot oxygenate (0.04%), one aspiration (0.04%) and eight (0.29%) severe desaturations < SpO2 50%. We suggest that our method to determine and investigate airway management-related adverse events could be adopted by other hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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