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Medical experts convene for Comprehensive Airway Management course

On Saturday, September 23, 2023, the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis hosted the Comprehensive Airway Management course, a one-day conference designed to help healthcare providers sharpen their skills and knowledge in airway management. Throughout the day, attendees benefited from an array of lectures by globally recognized experts, interactive hands-on workshops, and immersive simulations, all offering helpful insights and invaluable learning experiences. Turnout was robust with more than 40 participants who benefitted from the expertise of a large team of faculty members. Eligible attendees also had the opportunity to earn 7.0 CME credits and request MOCA 2.0 credits.

Dr. Muthuraj Kanakaraj, MD, MBBS, FRCA, assistant professor of anesthesiology and course chair, emphasized the event’s significance, stating, “This course was a resounding success, uniting experts in the field to deepen our understanding of airway management. In today’s dynamic medical landscape, effective airway management is paramount, and events like these play a pivotal role in ensuring our clinicians are well-equipped to consistently deliver the highest standard of patient care and improve outcomes.”

Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA, Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology, head of the Department of Anesthesiology, and anesthesiologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, set the tone for the day with an introductory address, emphasizing the importance of effective airway management in the medical field. The morning included a series of lectures, covering topics such as:

Airway Management in Obstetrics and Pediatrics:  Adithya Bhat, MD, and Preeta George, MD, both faculty members from the Department of Anesthesiology, discussed the unique challenges of airway management in these specialized settings.

Difficult Airway Management / FOB Intubation: Ellen O’Sullivan, PhD, FRCA, FCAI, a professor of Anesthesiology at St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, and past president of Difficult Airway Society, UK, delivered the keynote lecture, explaining how to perform a Fiberoptic Bronchoscopic (FOB) Intubation.

Shared Airway – An ENT Surgeon’s Perspectives: Matthew Rohlfing, MD, an assistant professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery at WashU Medicine, provided valuable insights into airway management from an ENT surgeon’s viewpoint.

Extubation:  Laura Cavallone, MD, an associate professor of Anesthesia & Critical Care at the University of Chicago, examined the intricacies of the extubation process.

After the morning lectures, participants engaged in a series of hands-on workshops. They were divided into ten groups, with each group rotating through ten workshops. These workshops covered a wide range of topics, including difficult airway prediction, video laryngoscopes, virtual simulation learning in FOB intubation, different approaches of FOB intubation, as well as the importance of teamwork in challenging airway scenarios. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to refresh their knowledge of one-lung ventilation, jet ventilation, and airway management in obstetrics and pediatrics.

The day concluded with remarks from the department’s Vice-Chair for Innovation, Omokhaye Higo, MD, MBA. Dr. Higo emphasized the significance of continuous learning in the field of medicine and encouraged participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in their clinical practice.