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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 258-259

Nasal assessment for nasotracheal intubation: A ray of hope

1 Department of Anaesthesia, AIIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Department of Anaestheisa, SMS Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
3 Department of Anaesthesia, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication16-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Samridhi Nanda
D-23, Akad Marg, Banipark, Jaipur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joacp.JOACP_53_16

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How to cite this article:
Sinha C, Nanda S, Kumar A, Kumari P. Nasal assessment for nasotracheal intubation: A ray of hope. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol 2018;34:258-9

How to cite this URL:
Sinha C, Nanda S, Kumar A, Kumari P. Nasal assessment for nasotracheal intubation: A ray of hope. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Sep 30];34:258-9. Available from:


Nasotracheal intubation, first described by Kuhn [1] in 1902, popularized by Magill [2] in 1920s, finds its place in various head and neck surgeries. It offers the benefit of more surgical manoeuver ability in such surgeries. It's use is also beset with a number of complications. such as bleeding through the Kisselbach's plexus [3] lacerations, turbinate avulsion, nasal polyp or tumor avulsion, bacteremia, and retropharyngeal mucosa dissection/laceration. Complications may also lead to death due to excessive hemorrhage or choking due to an avulsed turbinate.

Nasotracheal intubation remains one of the established techniques of securing the airway. Careful assessment and preparation of the patient before the procedure are important. Various complications such as epistaxis, polypectomy, adenoidectomy, and turbinectomy have all been described. The incidence of these complications is variable. Tintinalli and Claffey, with nasotracheal intubations, demonstrated a hemorrhage rate of 17%.[4] Nasal anatomy aberrations such as septal deviations and septal spurs are common. Studies have shown that eliciting proper history and evaluation of nasal patency clinically, though recommended, might be misleading.[5] Septal spurs might provide obstacle while intubating [Figure 1] and can lead to complications like bleeding. The use of anterior rhinoscopy has not shown to be of much benefit.[6] Flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy is advised to reveal anatomical aberrations. However, in a resource-limited setting, a video rhinolaryngoscope (VRL) can prove to be handy. The presence of a septal spur can be picked up easily. A VRL is similar to a fiberoptic bronchoscope but with limited length (30 cm), outer diameter 3.7 mm and angle of view 85°. It is portable and relatively easy to use. The disadvantage of this unit is the absence of suction port. In our case, we used it only for a diagnostic purpose.
Figure 1: Left-sided spur on video rhinolaryngoscope image

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Hence, we recommend that the use of VRL in a resource-limited setting in patients undergoing nasal intubation. Carrying out nasotracheal intubation, relying just on preoperative assessment like nasal patency determination by air flow methods, that have so far been used, can be catastrophic. Heretic, as it may sound, a preoperative evaluation with VRL under sedation/general anesthesia might prove useful, as was seen in our patient. Regular nasal assessment using VRL under sedation has the potential to decrease the complication rate, thus increasing the patient safety.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kuhn F. Die pernasale tubage. Munch Med Wochenschr 1902;49:1456.  Back to cited text no. 1
Magill IW. Technique in endotracheal anaesthesia. Br Med J 1930;2:817-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Dauphinee K. Nasotracheal intubation. Emerg Med Clin North Am 1988;6:715-23.  Back to cited text no. 3
Tintinalli JE, Claffey J. Complications of nasotracheal intubation. Ann Emerg Med 1981;10:142-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Smith JE, Reid AP. Identifying the more patent nostril before nasotracheal intubation. Anaesthesia 2001;56:258-62.  Back to cited text no. 5
O'Connell JE, Stevenson DS, Stokes MA. Pathological changes associated with short-term nasal intubation. Anaesthesia.1996; 51: 347–50.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1]


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