We conducted a survey of the practice of anaesthetists in Sweden, first asking if they use a mask ventilation trial (MVT) as part of routine induction with intubation (not rapid sequence induction or expected difficult airway). We focused on the reasons for or against the MVT, probing the anaesthetists’ attitudes in general but also in specific scenarios.
The response rate was 54%. We found that 65.1% routinely use a MVT, 21.4% sometimes do and 13.5% never do so. There was no effect for years of experience on the distribution. The most common reason for checking mask ventilation was “to gather information about the airway,” while the reason for not using the MVT was mostly “that muscle relaxation often improves mask ventilation.”
We found several interesting comments about airway management at both practical and theoretical levels. The survey highlights that routinely performing a MVT is a common practice in Sweden in spite of the lack of evidence for increased patient safety. Future airway guidelines may need to address this practice.