Objective: Cardiac surgery patients might have a higher incidence of difficult laryngoscopy than the general population because of older age, dental problems, and obesity. The authors estimated the incidence and predictors of difficult laryngoscopy in coronary artery bypass surgery patients. Design: Prospective, controlled study. Setting: University setting. Participants: Patients undergoing coronary artery bypass or general surgery. Interventions: Two hundred consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft and 444 general surgery patients, all aged >40 years, were compared for the incidence and predictors of difficult laryngoscopy, defined as a grade III or IV view. Measurements and Main Results: Predictors of difficult laryngoscopy were considered mouth opening <4 cm, limited cervical mobility, thyromental distance <6 cm, protruding or partially missing upper teeth, and Mallampati classes 3 and 4. More cases of difficult laryngoscopy were recorded in cardiac patients (10% v 5.2%, p < 0.023). The cardiac patients were older, mostly men, and belonged to ASA III-IV risk classes. Mallampati classes 3 and 4 were more frequent in the control group. With univariate analysis, difficult laryngoscopy correlated with 7 variables: older age, ASA-IV risk class, protruding or partially missing upper teeth, limited mouth opening, limited neck movement, thyromental distance <6 cm, and diabetes mellitus. Multivariate analysis adjusted for propensity score identified older age (odds ratio = 1.05/yr, 95% confidence interval = 1.005-1.09, p < 0.03) and limited neck movement (odds ratio = 9.5, 95% confidence interval = 2.2-41, p < 0.003), but not cardiac surgery per se, as independent predictors of difficult laryngoscopy. Conclusions: Difficult laryngoscopy was more frequent in cardiac surgery patients (10% v 5.2%). Older age and limited neck movement, but not cardiac surgery per se, were independent predictors of difficult laryngoscopy.
- Coronary artery bypass grafting