Examining the airways of trauma patients can be incredibly difficult for EMS personnel. Even in good lighting, blood and debris caused by trauma can make it difficult to accurately view the airway, even when using a high-quality video laryngoscope.
Keith Carter knows this from experience. Currently area manager for Air Methods’ Gulf Coast Central region, Carter has been a paramedic for 25 years and a certification teacher for the last 12 years, and has actively researched better ways to treat airway injuries for the past five. “My emphasis is airway management,” he says.
In the second half of 2017, Carter was given a demo sample of Adroit Surgical’s Vie Scope and Voir Bougie to assess.
The Vie Scope direct laryngoscope (DL) is a simple, affordable, and capable alternative to video laryngoscopes. It consists of a plastic pistol-grip handle with a clear plastic trumpet-like tube that flares out from the handle.
The clear tube is illuminated by battery-powered LEDs within the pistol grip. They provide light through the tube’s side wall and its wide angled-cut end.
The Vie Scope’s design allows the user to see directly inside the airway without the need for a video camera. Meanwhile, the Vie Scope’s flaring tube is perfect for sliding a Voir Bougie (marked with brightly colored bands to visually aid insertion to correct depth) into the airway should intubation be required.
“The Vie Scope is the very first entry into the DL market that we’ve seen in my career,” says Carter. Until it came along, he adds, “the only thing that hasn’t changed in an ambulance in the last 25 years is direct laryngoscopy.”
Having put the Vie Scope and Voir Bougie through their paces, Carter has been very impressed with what he’s seen. As promised, the two devices allow paramedics to accurately assess airways and execute intubation, all without the need for expensive technology or highly specific techniques such as those that dictate which hand is to be used and the direction of treatment.
“The Vie Scope tells you you can use any hand in any direction…you can use any method you want to,” Carter says. “With the Vie Scope’s rubber housing, you can even pry on the teeth—which we were told never to do—because you’re not going to break them.”
In addition to being both easy and flexible to use, “the Vie Scope is the only device you can actively intubate with while CPR is in progress,” says Carter. “With video laryngoscopes you have to stop CPR because you can’t watch the camera image when it’s moving.”
All told, Carter is extremely impressed with the Vie Scope and Voir Bougie. “It’s cost-effective. It’s light. It’s disposable, and it will accomplish intubation using DL techniques when you may not have the ability to obtain a VL scope,” he says.