Original Article

CME Article: Airway Assessment of Patients Undergoing Endoscopic Procedures

Authors: Kristi T. Lopez, MD, Shoba Theivanayagam, MD, Akwi W. Asombang, MD, Michelle L. Matteson-Kome, PhD, Matthew L. Bechtold, MD


Objectives: In advance of endoscopic procedures, an evaluation to assess the risk of sedation is performed by the gastroenterologist. Based on regulations, gastroenterologists are required to perform an airway assessment. At this time, data supporting this regulation are limited; therefore, we evaluated airway assessment accuracy by gastroenterologists before endoscopic procedures.

Methods: A retrospective, single tertiary care center study was performed from May 2012 through August 2013. Patients who underwent an endoscopy or colonoscopy performed at the University of Missouri–Columbia with documented Mallampati scores were included in the analysis. Three primary cohorts of patients were included in our study: gastroenterologist versus anesthesiologist, gastroenterologist versus other gastroenterologists, and gastroenterologists versus themselves. Data were collected and recorded for patient age, body mass index, and Mallampati score. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and linear weighted kappa analysis for agreement.

Results: For gastroenterologists versus anesthesiologists and versus other gastroenterologists, the agreement on Mallampati scores was poor (weighted kappa index 0.103, 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.0126 to 0.219; percentage of agreement 42% and 0.120, 95% CI −0.0211 to 0.260; percentage of agreement 46%, respectively). For gastroenterologists versus themselves for the same patient, the agreement on Mallampati scores was only moderate (weighted kappa index 0.420, 95% CI 0.119–0.722; percentage of agreement 65%).

Conclusions: Gastroenterologists performing a preprocedure assessment using Mallampati scores have poor agreement with anesthesiologists and colleagues and only moderate agreement with themselves.

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