Mandibulectomy most commonly performed as surgical management of oropharyngeal carcinoma leads to a wide array of anatomical and physiological changes which result in an anticipated difficult airway. There may be posterosuperior displacement of hyoid bone and tongue leading to reduction of retropalatal space along with loss of structural support to the tongue predisposing it to prolapse and development of obstructive sleep apnoea. Bulky flap reconstruction, limited mouth opening, and radiotherapy limiting neck mobility further compound the difficulty in airway management. This leads to a wide spectrum of issues ranging from difficulty in face mask ventilation to laryngoscopy and intubation. It is essential to individualize each case with a preformulated strategy outlining the primary and alternative approaches. A literature search was carried out using search engines like PubMed, Embase, Medline, and Google scholar using the terms “Difficult airway”, “Post-mandibulectomy”, “Difficult laryngoscopy, and Intubation”. The available literature was thoroughly reviewed by the authors before the final drafting of this article. A multidisciplinary team approach, thorough assessment, meticulous preparation, and critical decision-making are essential for successfully managing a difficult airway post-mandibulectomy.DOI: 10.29245/2768-5365/2023/1.1137 View / Download Pdf
Intensive Care Strain Indicators: Recommendations for Critical Care Processes and Research Objectives
Intensive care units (ICU’s) are particularly susceptible to resource and personnel strain given the complexity and unpredictability of care. This featured prominently in the early course of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, where poor patient outcomes were clearly linked to the increasing severity of ICU strain associated with decreased ICU capacity. Despite attempts at measuring ICU strain, there exists no operational model that ICU directors can implement to monitor strain or researchers can use to examine its effects.
This article reviews ICU strain indicators including census load (census, acuity, and admissions), ICU flow characteristics (admission/discharge criteria, sufficient staffing levels, and ICU performance), and consequence mediators (ICU queuing time and high-risk discharges) with attention to common themes and measures. Census load data suggests mortality risk is greater when ICU census starts higher, has high overall acuity, and with greater numbers of admissions especially when they arrive close together. Optimal ICU flow depends on maintaining a “strain mindset” when prioritizing patients, optimal ICU professional staffing, and maintaining high level ICU performance processes. Finally, delaying ICU admissions beyond six hours, or “after hours” or rushed ICU discharges result in increased mortality risk. Incorporating these ICU strain factors into an outcomes-focused model is proposed based on a conceptual framework with future research objectives recommended.DOI: 10.29245/2768-5365/2023/1.1138 View / Download Pdf
A Case Series on the Utility of Dexmedetomidine for the Immediate Treatment of Postoperative Muscle Spasm
Postoperative muscle spasm is a common complaint in the post-anesthesia care unit. Management of postoperative muscle spasm remains a major challenge as first-line anti-spasmodic agents are not without risk. Due to the adverse effects of sedation and risk for respiratory depression and pulmonary aspiration, conventional anti-spasmodic agents may not be an ideal choice for patients who are recovering from anesthesia. In this case series, we present three patients who underwent nonemergent surgeries with subsequent postoperative cervical muscle spasm that went unresolved with conventional PACU pain medications. Below, we demonstrate the potential utility of dexmedetomidine for management of postoperative muscle spasm. This is most notable when oral anti-spasmodic formulations are contraindicated in sedated patients and intravenous skeletal muscle relaxants are inaccessible in the PACU. After receiving incremental boluses of dexmedetomidine, the patients demonstrated immediate improvement in their cervical range of motion and their cervical muscle spasms were markedly reduced. Dexmedetomidine’s unique qualities, such as its quick onset, intravenous route of administration, and minimal effect on respiratory physiology, make it an ideal choice for management of postoperative muscle spasm.DOI: 10.29245/2768-5365/2023/1.1139 View / Download Pdf