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SAVES gets new video laryngoscopy device

Technology makes it easier for first responders to establish airway in patients

SAVES Executive Director Jeff VanBeveren demonstrates the use of the organization’s new Glidescope Cobalt AVL on a training dummy. The larynx of the dummy, as projected by the Glidescope real-time video camera attached to the end of the trachea tube, can be seen on the monitor to the right.

SAVES Executive Director Jeff VanBeveren demonstrates the use of the organization’s new Glidescope Cobalt AVL on a training dummy. The larynx of the dummy, as projected by the Glidescope real-time video camera attached to the end of the trachea tube, can be seen on the monitor to the right. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services has become the first ambulance service in Onondaga County to purchase a new video-enhanced laryngoscopy device to be used outside a hospital setting.

The Glidescope Cobalt AVL (Advanced Video Laryngoscope) allows paramedics to more easily and more quickly establish airways in patients having difficulty breathing (intubate) by projecting the patient’s vocal chords and trachea on a video screen rather than visualizing with the naked eye.

“This device is beneficial in many ways, but basically you simply cannot put the tube in the wrong place with this,” said SAVES Executive Director Jeff VanBeveren. “Having this tool in our bag of tricks will benefit our patients incredibly.”

The cost of the device was $14,228, which will be paid out of the SAVES fiscal year 2012 budget.

As anyone who has watched hospital dramas like “ER” now knows, intubating patients is a typically necessary action in cases of respiratory distress and severe multi-system trauma, such as cardiac arrests and car accidents.

Tracheal intubation is the placement of a flexible plastic tube through the vocal chords and into the trachea (windpipe) to maintain an open airway or to serve as a channel through which to administer certain drugs. Insertion is typically aided by use of a laryngoscope, a rigid instrument that moves the tongue and epiglottis out of the way to allow paramedics a direct view of the top of the larynx.

The Glidescope Cobalt AVL has a real-time video camera on the end of tube that allows paramedics to visualize the intubation procedure on a nearby video screen.

“This allows us to not have our face quite so close to a patient’s face, which helps prevent blood borne pathogen and other contaminations, and it prevents the danger that you could pass the tube into the esophagus, which only fills the stomach full of air and not the lungs,” VanBeveren said. “This device is nearly 100-percent successful and will definitely prove to be much quicker.”

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