Devices allow paramedics to insert breathing tube into a patient's trachea, a procedure known as intubation

TIMES PHOTO: JESSICA DARLAND - TVF&R's Danielle Joe and Tom Herrington work on a dummy during a training session to learn how to use new emergency medical equipment. On July 1, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue paramedics began using high-tech video laryngoscopy devices that will allow them to more easily allow them to insert a plastic breathing tube into a patient's trachea -- in a procedure known as intubation -- allowing them to more easily breathe.

That's because the district recently purchased 40 video GlideScope Go laryngoscopy devices.

"The new scopes improve our odds of what we call "first-pass success," meaning these patients are in critical condition and seconds count for getting an airway established on the first attempt," said Bill Steward, medical services officer for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue

Video Laryngoscopy, or what's known as VL, allows for better clarity and it simplifies a procedure that allows first-responders to align anatomical landmarks to see a direct view of a patient's vocal cords, said Steward. What that means is less trauma done to surrounding tissue as well.

"The situations in which we would intubate include anytime a patient is unable to protect their airway or require someone to breathe for them," said Steward. "This could be from a car crash, smoke inhalation, stroke, head injury or severe respiratory issue, like an asthma attack."

Steward said that TVF&R still uses scopes with a light but that VL technology, which has been around for about a decade, is "basically the 'gold standard' in the hospitals."

TIMES PHOTO: JESSIE DARLAND - The new laryngoscope makes it easier for medical professionals to see the vocal chords when placing the breathing tube. One way its superior to the old method of direct laryngoscopy is that VL allows those using the device to "peak around the corner," something that's difficult using direct laryngoscopy. Also eliminated are the expensive fiberoptic cables that used to attach to the old scopes.

"Now, the view screen fits in your hand — no need to find a suitable location to set the screen down and then hope the cable is long enough to reach," Steward said, noting that the devices cost about $5,000 each. "The new model will be stored in our airway kits, making it readily accessible to the paramedic when they are away from their medic unit or fire apparatus."

TIMES PHOTO: JESSIE DARLAND - Emergency workers, above, respond to a call of an unconscious 'patient' during their training with the new video laryngoscopy devices, right. Some of those devies will land in new state-of-the-art kits, below.Steward said it took a 2½ year process to come up with the best device, something that included field evaluations, researching clinical studies, and talking to other emergency medical services agencies who currently use this technology.

"We're going with a proven company," said Steward. "This one just met all our criteria."

TIMES PHOTO: JESSIE DARLAND - The new laryngoscopes emergency responders will use have video capabilities, making it much easier to slide a breathing tube into a person's throat, and can be placed in new, sturdier portable emergency kits.

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