Airway management: A survey of training and practices of Nigerian anesthetists
Background: Airway management is an integral part of anesthetist’s training and clinical practice. Studies have suggested that opportunities for anesthesia trainees to learn and practice endotracheal intubation have decreased over time. We sought to examine the current training and practices of airway management by anesthetists practicing in Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A structured questionnaire was administered to delegates at an annual conference of the Nigerian Society of Anaesthetists. A total of 49 respondents participated in the survey. The data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0, the results are presented in appropriate statistical tools, and the findings discussed.
Results: The response rate was 82%. Majority of the respondents (61%) had attended a course on airway management. Many of the respondents (54%) had less than 10 years of experience in anesthesia. Majority (69%) of the respondents were from teaching hospitals. All the respondents had access to laryngeal mask airways (LMAs) and 85% of respondents could use them very well. Fiberoptic bronchoscope (FOB) was available to 51% of the respondents and only 22% of them were conversant with its use, while 31% admitted that they needed more training. Majority (71%) of the respondents had received formal training in airway management, some of a short duration (47%).
Conclusion: Majority of our respondents had good knowledge of routine airway management using LMAs. Though FOBs may be available in some of the teaching hospitals, very few anesthetists are conversant with its use. There is increased use of simple airway devices with deskilling in complex airway management. Resource limitation means that very few individuals have access to training with novel airway techniques. There is need to increase funding of anesthesia training and services in order to improve skill acquisition and practice of airway management.
Key words: Airway management, anesthetists, practice, training