Airway Fair Promotes Patient Safety in OR

James S. Hicks, MD; Alexander Birch, MD

To the Editor

Attendees returning from the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Annual Meeting in Dallas to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) carried a plethora of literature and experiences with new or improved airway management devices presented there. When those who stayed behind and “manned the fort” expressed their interest in the many technologies exhibited, several faculty members conceived the idea of a Saturday morning “airway fair,” designed to give residents and faculty alike a chance to experience a wide array of the current airway management equipment.

A month later, the anesthesiology department at OHSU held its first annual “Difficult Airway Hands-On Workshop.” Vendors from nine companies responded to invitations to present their products in an academic atmosphere, with one or two faculty members assigned to each vendor’s display to provide clinical insight into each of their offerings. The event began with a buffet breakfast, followed by a review of the ASA Difficult Airway Algorithm in its most recent iteration.

After the formal review, participants were encouraged to visit each station and take as much time as they wished to gain familiarity with the various instruments and place them into their overall skills inventory. By providing faculty anesthesiologist assistance at each station, the practical applications and theoretical considerations not necessarily addressed by the product representatives could be simultaneously considered with the “sales pitch,” giving a balanced view of each item.

Attendance was enthusiastic despite not requiring residents to attend. No fee was charged. Although this time invitations were confined to the medical center faculty and housestaff, next year’s event is planned to be open to area anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, providing a community service through education in issues directly affecting anesthesia patient safety.

James S. Hicks, MD Alexander Birch, MD Department of Anesthesiology Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland