Airway injury caused by a Portex single-use bougie.
In a randomised cross-over study, 50 anaesthetists attempted to place a multiple-use bougie in the trachea of a manikin, when holding it at either 20 cm or 30 cm from the tip. A grade 3 laryngoscopic view was simulated. The anaesthetists were blinded to success (tracheal placement) or failure (oesophageal placement). The success rates when held at 20 and 30 cm distance from the tip were 68 and 62%, respectively (p = 0.55). In a separate experiment, multiple and single-use bougies were held at four different positions and pressed onto a disc attached to a force transducer. The peak force exerted by the single-use bougies was two to three times greater than that which could be exerted by the multiple-use bougies (p < 0.0001). Holding the bougie at either 20 or 30 cm distance from the tip is unlikely to influence bougie placement. The single-use bougie is much more likely to cause trauma to tissue during placement, particularly if held close to the tip.