The gum elastic bougie: One of anaesthesia's best-kept secrets

Recent guidelines for paramedic intubation have been published by the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) (2008). One important recommendation for paramedic intubation is that: ‘When prehospital tracheal intubation is undertaken, a gum elastic bougie should be available routinely’.Despite this, the bougie has not been universally available among ambulance services in the UK—up to a third do not include the bougie as part of their airway management strategy.We aim to introduce the bougie, provide information on its use, advantages and pitfalls, and provide some tips as to how to get the most out of this invaluable device in clinical practice.

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