Background: “Short Neck” is a term used by anesthesiologists and emergency physicians to describe one of the risk factors of difficult airway management; but there is no consensus on what length constitutes short neck.
Study objective: To measure neck length and associate it with intubation difficulty in obese patients, the secondary objective to find any relationship between short neck, difficult intubation and increasing body mass index.
Design: A pilot, cross sectional prospective single blinded study.
Sample: 97 adult patients scheduled for elective surgery, in Hamad General Hospital between March 2018 and October 2018, under general anesthesia, was recruited for the study.
Results: Airway assessment using anthropometric measurements, including neck length, were documented prior to anesthesia. Operators (anesthesiologists) were blinded. Intubation Difficult Scale was used. All data were documented and analyzed afterwards. Patients were of three groups according to Intubation Difficulty Scale (IDS): Group A: IDS 0, Group B: IDS>0 - ≤ 5 and Group C: IDS>5. Five patients (5.2%) with intubation difficulty score>5 have a mean neck length 7.6 cm. “Short Neck” was found to have a significant p value 0.022 within the three groups.
Conclusions: A patient's features relevant to airway assessment are rather difficult to quantify. This is the first reported attempt to obtain an objective value for Short Neck in routine airway assessment.
Published Date: 2020-06-30; Received Date: 2020-06-03