n. a technique for obtaining an emergency airway through the cricothyroid membrane when standard airway techniques have failed. There are two main techniques. In needle cricothyroidotomy, a large-bore intravenous cannula is inserted directly through the membrane. Ventilation by this technique can only be through a high-pressure system, must only be performed by trained personnel, and must only continue for a maximum of 45 minutes. Damage to the lungs can ensue. In surgical cricothyroidotomy, a surgical hole is made in the membrane and a cuffed tube, similar to a short endotracheal tube (see intubation), is inserted directly. This affords much better airway protection.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.