Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Special Edition: COVID-19 - January 2021 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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C OVID-19 has all healthcare workers on edge — espe- cially those involved in air- way management. The coronavirus is found in spu- tum and upper airway secretions, putting anesthesia providers in a direct pathway of exposure during intubations. Minimizing the risk of transmission during these high- risk procedures requires careful prepara- tion, necessary equipment and experi- enced anesthesia providers who can trou- bleshoot unforeseen complications. Adhering to the following recommenda- tions (osmag.net/n7JbED) issued by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists will help keep your anesthe- sia providers and surgical team safe when treating patients who are suspected of hav- ing COVID-19. 1. Rely on the experts Anesthesia professionals within your facili- ty who have the most experience in airway management should perform intubations during cases involving patients with sus- pected COVID-19. This isn't role-specific. For instance, if nurse anesthetists are the most frequent intubators on your anesthe- sia team, they should secure airways. This will mini- mize the time it takes to secure an airway because you should not be bagging a patient during this pro- cedure. The goal is to safely minimize the likelihood of aerosolizing airway content. You want to rely on a provider who is highly experienced, who can intu- bate quickly and efficiently, and who has the most likelihood of doing it in one attempt. Additionally, limit the number of staff members present during airway manipulation to reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure. CDC guidelines say only staff who are critical to managing the airway or making sure the procedure runs safely should be in the environment where it's occurring. In many cases, that's only the anesthesia provider who's physically securing the airway. But the provider may require the assistance of a registered nurse. That's OK, but the rest of the OR staff should be out of the environment. It's important that each facility has a clearly defined policy that states who the critical members of the airway management team are, who should be assisting and who should be out of the environment while the intubation is taking place. J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 2 9 Brett Morgan, DNP, CRNA I Park Ridge, Ill. Airway Management in the COVID-19 Era Anesthesia providers must take additional steps to perform intubations safely and effectively. DRESSED IN LAYERS The pandemic has highlighted the importance of wearing proper protection when intubating patients. Rebecca Barnett

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