Video Laryngoscopy Enhances Patient Airway Intubation and Helps Improve Clinician Safety

Video laryngoscopy used in the operating room supports first-attempt success of airway intubation. Research also shows that video laryngoscopy can help prevent clinician exposure to droplet-borne pathogens and further improve your safety.1 Recent guidelines highlight the risks of contracting COVID-19 among those caring for infected patients.1 The guidelines recommend that airway management clinicians take precautions to further protect against droplet-borne pathogens.1

Understand the clinical evidence behind the video laryngoscope recommended guidelines

Infection prevention and control (IPC) of droplet-borne pathogens is increasingly important when it comes to operation room surgical procedures. While personal protective gear (PPE) plays a role in keeping you and your patients safe, it’s only one part of the equation.

Increasing the distance of a patient’s mouth from your nose and eyes is vital to keeping yourself safe.2 The perception is that laryngoscopy requires you to get much closer to a patient to prevent damage of the vocal cords and reduce first-attempt failure. But there are tools that allow you to maintain distance during laryngoscopy — and guidelines urge the adoption of video laryngoscopes during the COVID-19 pandemic.2

Video laryngoscopy allows the appropriate mouth-to-mouth distance suggested within the guidelines.2 It allows for patient-centric visuals while widening the mouth-to-mouth distance gap for increased safety.

Additionally, video laryngoscopes use disposable blades that mimic those of direct laryngoscopy blades. This adheres to recommendations outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommendations urge the use of disposable tools.3

Related: Learn how to use a video laryngoscope by viewing these educational training videos.

How will these video laryngoscope recommendations impact your operating room procedures?

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged operating room routines. Changes in flow-through work areas, additional tool sterilization, and the need for extra PPE make it hard to refamiliarize ourselves with routine procedures.

Video laryngoscopy gives us comfort in the well-known. With everyday elective surgical procedures reopening, video laryngoscope helps us rethink routine with practical familiarity. Providing improved consistency around intubation of a patient’s airway is one less challenge with the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope.

Blades used in video laryngoscope imitate those in direct laryngoscope, making them familiar and easy to use. Other video laryngoscope models use larger monitors, demanding attention that would otherwise be on the patient. The McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope lessens the need to look away and minimizes space required in the operating room.

Related: Learn more about improving airway intubation with this clinical resource guide.

How do you benefit from integrating video laryngoscopy?

Minimizing exposure, securing the airway, and containing patients’ exhaled gases may keep you safe and improve first-attempt intubation.

Other video laryngoscopy tools use larger monitors that divert your attention from the patient to the screen. With the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope, the compact screen provides the visual clarity you need without requiring you to take your attention off of the patient.

This also allows continued visibility to the patient’s facial cues in conjunction with clarity around the tracheal anatomy. Having this visual allows for a swift response time in addressing distress if needed.

While other temporary protective devices are coming to fruition, these become obstructions both visually and physically when addressing patient health needs. For example, heavy protective barriers protect you from droplet-borne pathogens but inhibit faster response times.

Related: Gain insight a to how video laryngoscopy is used globally. Watch this global practitioner’s best practice video.

What are additional features of the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope?

The McGRATH™ MAC blade design mimics that of the direct laryngoscope. Unlike other video laryngoscopes, the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope has a much smaller footprint and is a portable device. It doesn’t have wheels or a stand that consume valuable space in an operating room.

Even with its compact size, quality is not compromised. The appearance of live tissue — readily distinguishing the anatomy — and lack of screen glare aid first-attempt success in intubation. As a result, infection prevention can help you and your staff safe.

The cost effectiveness of using video laryngoscopy routinely is sustainable, as reducing patient incidence with the first-attempt success hypothetically leads to fewer costly complications. Additional benefits of the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope include:

  • Durability in a fast-paced setting
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Integrated vertical screen

When patients who may be COVID-19 positive require elective surgery or emergency surgery, the McGRATH™ MAC video laryngoscope may help ensure yours and their safety.


1. Cook TM, El-Boghdadly K, McGuire B, McNarry AF, Patel A, Higgs A. Consensus guidelines for managing the airway in patients with COVID-19: Guidelines from the Difficult Airway Society, the Association of Anaesthetists the Intensive Care Society, the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Anaesthesia. 2020;75(6):785–799.

2. Hall D, Steel A, Heij R, Eley A, Young P. Video laryngoscopy increases 'mouth-to-mouth' distance compared with direct laryngoscopy. Anaesthesia. 2020;75(6):822–823.

3. World Health Organization. Infection prevention and control during health care when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected. January 2020.

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About the Author

Dr. Karen Phillips MD, FCA, MBA is an anesthesiologist, adult intensivist, and senior medical director at Medtronic.