Ergonomics of novices and experts during simulated endotracheal intubation

Adam De Laveaga, Michael C. Wadman, Laura Wirth, M. Susan Hallbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Endotracheal Intubation (ETI) is an airway procedure commonly used to secure the airway for a variety of medical conditions. Proficiency in ETI procedures requires significant clinical experience and insufficient data currently exists describing the physical ergonomics of successful direct laryngoscopy. The research objectives of this study were to examine how ETI time, error and practitioner biomechanics varied among clinical experience levels and hospital bed heights. The participant population included novice and expert personnel, differentiated by their exposure to ETI procedures. Participants used a standard laryngoscope and blade to perform ETI trials on an airway manikin trainer at predesigned hospital bed heights. Participants were evaluated based on ETI time and accuracy, as well as wrist postures and muscle utilization. Hospital bed height did not affect task completion time, error rates or muscle utilization. Expert participants exhibited less ulnar deviation and forearm supination during task trials, as well as a higher utilization of the bicep brachii and anterior deltoid muscles. Expert grasped instrumentation differently, requiring less wrist manipulation required to achieve ideal instrument positions. By encouraging ergonomic best-practices in hand and arm postures during ETI training, the opportunity exists to improve patient safety and reduce the learning curve associated with ETI procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4692-4698
Number of pages7
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Biomechanics
  • EMG
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Ergonomics
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Wrist Postures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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