The human respiratory pathway may be described in similitude with a house corridor – a dark one, given its closure away from light. For a physician to gain visual access and by implication procedural access to the pathway would require the use of a laryngoscope. A laryngoscope obtains real-time images of the pharynx and larynx, and aids the passing of an endotracheal tube into the trachea.
Except for basic faults such as blockages in those with integrated suction channel, laryngoscopes are largely managed with preventive maintenance as most other faults require factory attention.
The laryngoscope belongs to a family of scopes in medical devices industry, others being Endo, Gastro, Procto, Arthro, Laparo, Duodeno, and Cysto scopes. They all are basically the same except for variation in their diameter, length, rigidity and function.
It is composed of a handle which houses the batteries, and a blade which has a light bulb. The bulb lights up when the blade is opened up and locked into position for use.
A laryngoscope has two internal channels, one for the transmitting of light and the other for viewing. A third channel may be present for attaching irrigation, suction and surgical devices. The viewing channel is a digital signal received through the eyepiece with a CCD video camera.
Pre-use check should involve checks that;
- that the led contacts on the blade is clean.
- that the bulb is tightly screwed.
- that the batteries are well charged.
- that the handle spring is not corroded.
Sterilisation should be carried out using Ethylene oxide; though gradually being phased out of use due to its carcinogenic effect on long term exposure, among other hazards. You may also use Glutaraldehyde. Since laryngoscopes are frequently used in clinical settings, they require that you sterilise and clean regularly.
Most other maintenance needs you could possibly encounter would require soldering of loose contacts which may prevent the bulb from lighting or the batteries from powering.