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Keywords:

  • Intubation;
  • laryngeal;
  • difficulty

A new practical classification of laryngeal view at laryngoscopy is presented and evaluated. The best laryngeal view obtained with or without anterior laryngeal pressure is recorded. The laryngeal view is easy (E)when the laryngeal inlet is visible. The view is restricted (R) when the posterior glottic structures (posterior commissure or arytenoids) are visible or the epiglottis is visible and can be lifted; this includes some grade 2 and some grade 3 views as classified by Cormack and Lehane. A difficult (D) view is present when the epiglottis cannot be lifted or when no laryngeal structures are visible. Five hundred patients were studied. Laryngoscopy, with the patient anaesthetised and paralysed, was performed with a Macintosh laryngoscope. If the vocal cords were not visible, a gum elastic bougie was used to aid intubation. Other aids were used only if this did not allow intubation. Each laryngeal view was graded according to the new classification and that of Cormack and Lehane. Intubation was timed and the equipment needed to facilitate intubation was recorded. The new classification stratified increasing difficulty with intubation (time for intubation longer and increasingly complex methods needed) better than the Cormack and Lehane classification. The new classification is as sensitive and more specific than the Cormack and Lehane classification in predicting difficult intubation. It is also more sensitive and more specific in predicting easy intubation.