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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-24

Ultrasound imaging of the airway and its applications

Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Institute of National Importance, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Pankaj Kundra
CII/09, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research Campus, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ARWY.ARWY_12_18

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Airway ultrasound (US) provides a dynamic assessment of the airway. In conjunction with other imaging techniques such as computerised tomographic (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasonography of the airway can influence airway management decisions. There is some evidence to support its use in the prediction of difficult airway by measuring pre-tracheal soft-tissue thickness and pre-epiglottis space thickness. However, the dynamic scan of vocal cord movements may replace direct visualisation techniques in the future. In addition, measurements of the subglottic diameter by US have been shown to predict endotracheal tube size as accurately as MRI or CT scan. US-assisted or US-guided front of the neck procedures such as percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy is safer and more accurate with decreased rate of complications. Localisation of cricothyroid membrane with US in difficult necks may become a life-saving procedure when complete ventilation failure is encountered. The use of US to overcome airway challenges is growing at a rapid pace adding newer dimensions to its use.

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