Cervical spine movement during laryngoscopy with the Bullard, Macintosh, and Miller laryngoscopes.Anesthesiology. 1995 Apr; 82(4):859-69.A
Direct laryngoscopy requires movement of the head, neck, and cervical spine. Spine movement may be limited for anatomic reasons or because of cervical spine injury. The Bullard laryngoscope, a rigid fiberoptic laryngoscope, may cause less neck flexion and head extension than conventional laryngoscopes. The purpose of this study was to compare head extension (measured externally), cervical spine extension (measured radiographically), and laryngeal view obtained with the Bullard, Macintosh, and Miller laryngoscopes.
Anesthesia was induced in 35 ASA 1-3 elective surgery patients. Patients lay on a rigid board with head in neutral position. Laryngoscopy was performed three times, changing between the Bullard, Macintosh, and Miller laryngoscopes. Head extension was measured with an angle finder attached to goggles worn by the patient. The best laryngeal view with each laryngoscope was assessed by the laryngoscopist. In eight patients, lateral cervical spine radiographs were taken before and during laryngoscopy with the Bullard and Macintosh blades.
Median values for external head extension were 11 degrees, 10 degrees, and 2 degrees with the Macintosh, Miller, and Bullard laryngoscopy (P < 0.01), respectively. Significant reductions in radiographic cervical spine extension were found for the Bullard compared to the Macintosh blade at the atlantooccipital joint, atlantoaxial joint, and C3-C4. Median atlantooccipital extension angles were 6 degrees and 12 degrees for the Bullard and Macintosh laryngoscopes, respectively. The larynx could be exposed in all patients with the Bullard but only in 90% with conventional laryngoscope (P < 0.01).
The Bullard laryngoscope caused less head extension and cervical spine extension than conventional laryngoscopes and resulted in a better view. It may be useful in care of patients in whom cervical spine movement is limited or undesirable.