Evaluation of different airway tests to determine difficult intubation in apparently normal adult patients: A prospective observational study
Background It is important to perform preoperative airway tests for prediction of difficult intubations because inadequate maintenance of a patient's airway is still the major cause of anesthesia-related morbidity and mortality. Methods We conducted this study to determine which airway test, or combination of airway tests, was most clinically useful. One hundred sixty adult patients underwent preoperative assessments of the mandible protrusion test (MPT), thyromental (TMD) and sternomental
... d sternomental (SMD) distances, inter-incisor gap (IIG), and the modified Mallampati tests with tongue protrusion (MMT-TP) and without tongue protrusion (MMT-NTP). Grade C on the MPT, TMD ≤ 6 cm, SMD ≤ 12 cm, and MMT grades III and IV were considered to be predictors of difficult tracheal intubations. A modified Cormack-Lehane grading (MCLG) of laryngoscopic views with backward, upward, and right-sided pressure on the thyroid and cricoid cartilages (BURP) maneuver was also documented, with grades 2B, 3, and 4 considered to be difficult airways for intubation. Results Fifteen patients (9.4%) were classified as MCLG 2B, 3, and 4, with age significantly associated with the MCLG grade (P = 0.028). The sensitivity and Youden's index of MMT-TP were found to be the lowest (40% and 0.29, respectively). The MPT was the most accurate and specific test (90.63% and 95.17%, respectively), with the highest PPV (50%), Youden's index (0.42), and area under the curve (AUC) (0.781). Bivariant analysis of MPT and the t-test of the mean TMDs and SMDs revealed significant associations between these airway tests and the difficulty of intubation (P values: < 0.001, 0.02, < 0.01, respectively). Conclusion The MPT, with its highest accuracy, specificity, positive predictive value, and good sensitivity may be used as a routine screening test for preoperative prediction of difficult tracheal intubations.