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There is little doubt that these guidelines incorporate advances made in airway management since 2004. They will change day-to-day practice of anaesthesia, as outlined above, from pre-operative airway assessment, to integrating the WHO team briefing, to the use and provision of equipment and drugs, and the recording of information on the anaesthesia chart. They will inform the later analysis of any critical airway incidents, especially as documentation and postoperative management are addressed, and they will encourage training in a range of techniques. Taken together, not quite a revolution but certainly a very 'radical evolution'.Assessment of the utility of the new guidelines should consider if they can be used as tools to enhance knowledge and training, or in addition as a prosthesis to bridge the gap between the requirements of and our abilities during emergencies. Formal testing may reveal which aspects of their design, complex as it is, may distract from, rather than enhance, airway management during crises.All guidelines represent a standard of care or a normative approach to a clinical problem. As such, they not only help guide clinicians, but they also provide the broader community with the opportunity to improve standards, to ensure equipment is available, and that training for the skills and processes required are in place to ensure successful adoption.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





131 - 137


Airway Management, Humans, Intubation, Intratracheal, Laryngeal Masks, Laryngoscopy, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Trachea