Short Citation: Anesthesiology 2005;103(2):429-37.
PubMed PMID: 16052126
Full Citation: Shiga T, Wajima Z, Inoue T, Sakamoto A. Predicting difficult intubation in apparently normal patients: a meta-analysis of bedside screening test performance. Anesthesiology 2005;103(2):429-37.
Organ System: Respiratory
Science Area: Procedure
Article Type: Meta Analysis / Systematic Review
Study Size: 50,760
Findings: The objective of this study was to systematically determine the diagnostic accuracy of bedside tests for predicting difficult intubation in patients with no airway pathology. Thirty-five studies (50,760 patients) were selected from electronic databases. The overall incidence of difficult intubation was 5.8% (95% confidence interval, 4.5-7.5%). Screening tests included the Mallampati oropharyngeal classification, thyromental distance, sternomental distance, mouth opening, and Wilson risk score. Each test yielded poor to moderate sensitivity (20-62%) and moderate to fair specificity (82-97%). The most useful bedside test for prediction was found to be a combination of the Mallampati classification and thyromental distance (positive likelihood ratio, 9.9; 95% confidence interval, 3.1-31.9).
Authors' Conclusions: Currently available screening tests for difficult intubation have only poor to moderate discriminative power when used alone. Combinations of tests add some incremental diagnostic value in comparison to the value of each test alone. The clinical value of bedside screening tests for predicting difficult intubation remains limited.