Retrograde tracheal intubation: Beyond fibreoptic endotracheal intubation

Natan Weksler, M. Klein, D. Weksler, C. Sidelnick, I. Chorni, V. Rozentsveig, S. Brill, G. M. Gurman, L. Ovadia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Flexible fibreoptic laryngoscopy is the method of choice for coping with difficult tracheal intubations, a leading cause of catastrophic outcomes in anaesthesia. However, this technique is not always available or feasible. Retrograde intubation is a minimally invasive airway management technique with a flat learning curve and a high level of skill retention. Methods: A retrospective review of the anaesthesia records of 24 patients who underwent retrograde intubation. The success rate and the incidence of complications were recorded. Results: Retrograde tracheal intubation was successful in all 24 patients. In 21 patients it succeeded on the first attempt. In two patients it succeeded when the technique was changed from sliding over a guide wire to a pulling technique. The most common complication was a sore throat in almost 60% of the patients. Two patients had mild subcutaneous emphysema and one had minimal bleeding at the puncture site. Conclusions: In these patients retrograde tracheal intubation was easy to perform, had a high success rate and a low incidence of complications. It is a reliable alternative when fibreoptic intubation is precluded, fails or is unavailable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-416
Number of pages5
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Difficult airway
  • Fibreoptic intubation
  • Retrograde intubation


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