Low-flow apnoeic oxygenation for laryngeal surgery: a prospective observational study

C. J. O'Loughlin, D. J. Phyland, N. A. Vallance, C. Giddings, E. Malkoutzis, E. Gunasekera, A. Webb, R. Barnes

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Laryngeal surgery requires a shared airway and close collaboration between surgeon and anaesthetist in order to optimise operating conditions. Apnoeic oxygenation uses the principle of aventilatory mass flow to maintain oxygenation of pulmonary capillary blood under apnoeic conditions while minimising laryngeal movement. Concerns regarding accumulation of carbon dioxide and resultant acidaemia have limited the use of the technique. We performed a prospective study of low-flow apnoeic oxygenation for patients undergoing microlaryngoscopy under general anaesthesia in order to evaluate the ability of the technique to maintain oxygenation and determine the resultant rate of carbon dioxide accumulation. Sixty-four patients undergoing microlaryngoscopy under general anaesthesia were studied between November 2016 and December 2018. Intra-operative oxygenation was provided via a 10-French oxygen catheter placed into the trachea delivering oxygen at 0.5–1.0 l.min−1. Data regarding apnoea time, peripheral oxygen saturation and venous blood gas concentrations were recorded. The mean (SD) duration of apnoea was 18.7 (7.2) min. Apnoeic oxygenation allowed successful completion of the surgical procedure in 62/64 patients. Mean (SD) rate of rise of the venous partial pressure of carbon dioxide was 0.15 (0.10) kPa.min−1. Operating conditions were recorded qualitatively as being adequate in all cases. No adverse effects were reported. Low-flow intra-tracheal apnoeic oxygenation is a simple, effective and inexpensive technique to maintain oxygenation for laryngeal surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1075
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • apnoeic oxygenation
  • microlaryngoscopy
  • panendoscopy

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