Accurate identification of the cricothyroid membrane is crucial for successful cricothyroidotomy. The aim of this study was to compare the conventional downward and modified upward laryngeal handshake techniques in terms of accuracy to identify the cricothyroid membrane in nonobese female patients.
In 198 anesthetized female patients, the cricothyroid membrane was identified by either the conventional downward laryngeal handshake technique (n = 99) or the modified upward laryngeal handshake technique (n = 99). According to the conventional downward laryngeal handshake technique, the cricothyroid membrane was identified by palpating the neck downward from the greater cornu of the hyoid bone, thyroid laminae, and cricoid cartilage. According to the modified upward laryngeal handshake technique, the cricothyroid membrane was located by moving up from the sternal notch. The primary outcome was the accuracy of identifying the cricothyroid membrane. Secondary outcomes included the accuracy of midline identification and time taken to locate what participants believed to be the cricothyroid membrane. The primary and secondary outcomes according to the technique were analyzed using generalized estimating equations.
The cricothyroid membrane could be identified more accurately by the modified upward laryngeal handshake technique than by the conventional downward technique (84% vs 56%, respectively; odds ratio [OR], 4.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.13−8.93; P < .001). Identification of the midline was also more accurate by the modified laryngeal handshake than by the conventional technique (96% vs 83%, respectively; OR, 4.98; 95% CI, 1.65−15.01; P = .004). The time taken to identify the cricothyroid membrane was not different between the conventional and modified techniques (20.2 [16.2−26.6] seconds vs 19.0 [14.5−26.4] seconds, respectively; P = .83).
The modified upward laryngeal handshake technique that involved tracing the trachea and laryngeal structures upward from the sternal notch was more accurate in identifying the cricothyroid membrane than the conventional downward technique in anesthetized female patients.