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Identifying Patients with Difficult Airways

New Procedure Identifies Patients with Difficult Airways

Cedars-Sinai has initiated a new procedure to identify patients with known difficult airways by placing a green band on their wrists, in addition to the white identifying wristband. A green notification sticker will also be placed at the top of the patient's Safety Alert Form. This will become part of the patient's permanent PCX record, and will thus automatically happen on subsequent admissions.

Patients wearing these wristbands should have an airway expert called (usually a member of the Department of Anesthesiology) whenever there is a question of intubation or other procedures involving the airway. The wristbands will be available in the PACU's, the ICU's and select procedure areas. They can be placed on the order of an attending anesthesiologist.

"We felt that it would be a valuable tool and add to patient safety to have a way of immediately identifying patients with known difficult airways," said Tom Webb, M.D., medical director of OR Operations. "The green wristband will enable healthcare staff to immediately identify patients who are known to be abnormally difficult to intubate and/or ventilate."

Physicians should note that in addition to the new wristband, there will now be potentially three or four wristbands on a given patient: white, the usual identifying wristband; blue for allergy alerts; red for Emergency Department patients, and yellow for infection control patients.

For more information, please contact Dr. Webb at (310) 423-6242 or via e-mail at WebbT@cshs.org.