As any anesthesiologist knows, intubation sometimes can fail, and when it fails, and the patient is not spontaneously breathing and cannot be ventilated, it becomes a real emergency. There are algorithms in place to deal with the difficult airway. One of the most common pathways in a “cannot intubate, cannot ventilate” situation is to insert an intubating LMA device to open up the airway, but even then there is no guarantee that the endotracheal tube will go easily into the trachea.
To make intubation a little easier, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a device they call GuidIN Tube. It’s a robotic intubation device that utilizes infrared light to identify the airway and guide the tube toward it. Because it uses infrared technology, GuidIN Tube works in situations where it’s difficult to see, and detectors on the end of the guiding part of the device help to automatically navigate the tube down the trachea to the lungs with little operator intervention.
Here’s a short video of the GuidIN Tube in action:
Press release from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (PDF): Robotic Intubation Prototype Crawls to the Lungs in Difficult Situations…