The Difficult Airway Workshop 2017
By Dr Tan Leng Zoo
Airway Management


The Difficult Adult Airway Course (DAAC) started in 2014 as a collaboration between Dr Zhang Jinbin from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and Dr Tan Leng Zoo from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) after they returned from their pioneer airway fellowships in Toronto and Halifax, Canada respectively.  Held in TTSH, it featured Professor Orlando Hung, Dr Zhang Jinbin's fellowship director as the sole invited speaker. He is the author of "Management of the Difficult and Failed Airway" and helped to design the Trachlight.

The following year in 2015, it was conducted in KTPH and the distinguished guest speaker was Professor Richard Cooper, Dr Tan’s fellowship director. He is the author of “The Difficult Airway: An Atlas of Tools and Techniques for Clinical Management” and was actively involved in the development of the Glidescope and 2 airway exchange catheters- Cook Airway Exchange Catheter and CardioMed EndoTracheal Ventilation Catheter.

Then in 2016, the course duration increased from one day to one and a half days. In addition, there were 2 overseas speakers- Dr David Wong from Toronto, Canada and Dr Nicholas Chrimes, creator of “The Vortex Approach” from Melbourne, Australia.

This year for the fourth edition of the DAAC, 3 prominent airway experts were invited to be part of the faculty.

Dr Richard Levitan is an emergency physician and the course director of the “Practical Emergency Airway Management Cadaveric Airway Course”. He is also the inventor of the Airway Cam direct laryngoscopy video system and the Levitan FPS optical stylet.

Dr Michael Kristensen is an Ear Nose and Throat anaesthesiologist and the course director of the “Airway Management for Anaesthesiologists” course. He is the authority on ultrasonography in airway management with his numerous publications on the topic.

Dr Niels Andersen is a thoracic anaesthesiologist who has conducted numerous one lung ventilation and difficult airway workshops in Europe.

The local faculty comprised of members of the Singapore Society of Anaesthesiologists Airway Special Interest Group representing the various hospitals. Thus it makes the DAAC a pioneer national airway education programme.

It attracted participants locally from the various restructured hospitals as well as from the region including Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan and included both anaesthetists and emergency physicians.

This is the first time the course was held in conjunction with the main annual anaesthesia conference locally. It comprised of a full-day pre-congress workshop on 17 August 2017 held inaugurally at the Academia, together with a half-day airway track on 18 August 2017 during the congress at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront.

The workshop consisted of interactive skill stations on manikins and simulators including supraglottic airways (SGA), videolaryngoscopy, flexible bronchoscopy and optical stylets, advanced airway techniques and lung isolation as well as interesting skill stations on human volunteers for airway ultrasonography. For the first time, in addition to porcine tracheas, cadavers were used during the front of neck access segment of the workshop, yet another first.

The airway track composed of informative lectures including the catchily titled “First Airway Revolution: SGA”, “Second Airway Revolution: Video”, “Third Airway Revolution: Ultrasound” and “Fourth Airway Revolution: Humidified High Flow Nasal Oxygen” as well as “When All Else Fails: Front of Neck Access” and “Just In Case: Awake Intubation”. It concluded with a live demonstration of airway topicalization and awake endoscopy which proved to be the perennial favourite highlight for the participants.

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