Endotracheal Intubation of Rabbits Using a Polypropylene Guide Catheter.

This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Endotracheal intubation in rabbits can be challenging due to their unusual anatomy. Achieving a patent airway during anesthesia is critical for the avoidance of airway obstruction, prevention of gastric tympany, and to allow ventilatory support. Due to the difficulty of intubation, alternative methods such as the use of laryngeal mask airways or laryngeal tubes have been explored. However, these methods do not result in direct access to the trachea and thus may present a risk for development of complications. In addition, lack of direct intubation of the trachea can result in personnel exposure to waste anesthetic gases. Numerous methods for endotracheal intubation have been described, including blind placement, use of a fiberoptic laryngoscope or endoscope, and cricoid placement. Despite these numerous publications, many still struggle to achieve success. Here we provide a detailed description of an intubation technique that can be taught with minimal training with a short time to proficiency. Briefly, after administration of injectable anesthesia and proper positioning of the rabbit, a polypropylene catheter is placed into the trachea by direct visualization using a laryngoscope. The catheter is then used as a guide to direct the endotracheal tube into the trachea. This method allows for intubation without the need for expensive equipment and can be performed by a single individual without the need for an assistant. In conclusion, this technique can be easily taught and performed at very little cost in any clinical or research setting.