Augmenting Airway Management with Novel Tracheal Detection Mechanisms and Mechanical Securement Approaches




Nawn, Corinne

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Airway management is an integral procedure across a wide variety of medical environments, from prehospital to operating room environments. Delayed or poorly performed airway management procedures can lead to major adverse events such as cardiac arrest or death. Despite the dramatic advances in modern biosensors and material science, airway management methods have changed very little over the past 30 years. Consequently, this dissertation seeks to transcend the traditional approaches of harsh airway manipulation by applying novel sensing mechanisms and material solutions to innovate the field of airway management. This dissertation characterized the existence and utility of unique biosignal properties of the airway, for the purpose of airway detection, alongside developing an alternative mechanical securement method designed for the purpose of reducing airway trauma. Through these aims, the central hypothesis evaluated whether an augmented airway management procedure would increase the rate of airway detection while decreasing the magnitude in force and movement of the head/neck axis when compared to that of direct laryngoscopy in various mannequin, cadaver, or in vivo models. The present studies characterized unique spectral reflectance properties in the trachea for multiple tissue models and developed several discrete tracheal detection devices based on the characteristic. Development of an alternative Digital Extenders mechanical platform demonstrated feasibility for intubation and showed reduced applied force as compared with current clinical standards in an instrumented mannequin model. These findings jointly represent promising advancements to the field of airway management in tracheal detection and reduction of upper airway trauma.


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Airway management, battlefield medicine, endotracheal intubation, spectral reflectance, tracheal detection



Biomedical Engineering