Pediatric-specific difficult airway guidelines include algorithms for 3 scenarios: unanticipated difficult tracheal intubation, difficult mask ventilation, and cannot intubate/cannot ventilate. While rare, these instances may require front-of-neck access (FONA) to secure an airway until a definitive airway can be established. The aim of this study was to develop a pediatric FONA simulator evaluated by both anesthesiology and otolaryngology providers, promoting multidisciplinary airway management.
A 3-dimensional–printed tracheal model was developed using rescaled, anatomically accurate dimensions from a computerized tomography scan using computer-aided design software. The medical grade silicone model was incorporated into a mannequin to create a low-cost, high-fidelity simulator. A multidisciplinary team of anesthesiology, otolaryngology, and simulation experts refined the model. Experts in airway management were recruited to rate the realism of the model’s characteristics and features and their own ability to complete specific FONA-related tasks.
Six expert raters (3 anesthesiology and 3 otolaryngology) were identified for multidisciplinary evaluation of model test content validity. Analysis of response data shows null variance within 1 or both specialties for a majority of the content validity tool elements. High and consistent absolute ratings for each domain indicate that the tested experts perceived this trainer as a realistic and highly valuable tool in its current state.
The ability to practice front-of-neck emergency airway procedures safely and subsequently demonstrate proficiency on a child model has great implications regarding both quality of physician training and patient outcomes. This model may be incorporated into curricula to teach needle cricothyroidotomy and other FONA procedures to providers across disciplines.