These modules are the first part of a series for beginners new to anaesthetics or those wishing to renew their knowledge. They cover airway basics and will build into a comprehensive guide for anyone who is training to assist the anaesthetist. You are free to download, print and study the modules. Once you have completed your reading come back and take the multichoice test. If you obtain a pass mark of over 80% you will have the option of printing out a certificate of completion.
Direct vision laryngoscopes
Laryngoscopes are used to aid tracheal intubation and the placement of endotracheal tubes. They allow visualisation of the larynx and are used not only in operating theatres but ITU and A&E. They can also be used to visualise the larynx for suctioning, removal of a foreign body and placing nasogastric tubes and throat packs.
This module covers conventional or direct laryngoscopes. Video laryngoscopes and fibreoptic intubation are covered in different modules.
Anaesthetic machines back to front
The most important piece of equipment that the anaesthetist uses is the anaesthesia machine. The basic function of an anaesthesia machine is to prepare a gas mixture of precisely known, but variable composition. The gas mixture can then be delivered to a breathing system. The anaesthesic machine itself has evolved from a simple pneumatic device to a complex array of mechanical, electrical and computer–controlled components. This module breaks down the essential features of the anaesthetic machine into its parts, explaining their purpose as it goes.
An endotracheal tube (ETT) is inserted into the trachea for the primary purpose of establishing and maintaining a definitive patent airway and to ensure the adequate exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is the gold standard for securing an airway, allowing positive-pressure ventilation while preventing contamination of the lungs from the contents of the pharynx and stomach.
Airway adjuncts and intubation aids
Airway adjuncts are designed to increase the success rate of basic airway manoeuvres, help maintain spontaneous respiration or ensuring successful bag-mask ventilation. Intubation aids are used to help the passing of an endotracheal tube through the cords rather than to help with laryngoscopy.
The respiratory system – Organs and Structures of the Respiratory System
This module covers the anatomy of the respiratory system. The major organs of the respiratory system function primarily to provide oxygen to body tissues for cellular respiration, remove the waste product carbon dioxide, and help to maintain acid-base balance. It covers both the conducting zone and a respiratory zone and describes the difference between the two.