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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 843078, 8 pages
Research Article

Assessment of Movement Patterns during Intubation between Novice and Experienced Providers Using Mobile Sensors: A Preliminary, Proof of Concept Study

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Allegheny Health Network, Erie, PA 16544, USA
2The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3Department of Emergency Medicine, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY 12208, USA

Received 17 December 2014; Revised 9 February 2015; Accepted 12 February 2015

Academic Editor: Hideo Inaba

Copyright © 2015 Jestin N. Carlson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. There are likely marked differences in endotracheal intubation (ETI) techniques between novice and experienced providers. We performed a proof of concept study to determine if portable motion technology could identify the motion components of ETI between novice and experienced providers. Methods. We recruited a sample of novice and experienced providers to perform ETIs on a cadaver. Their movements during ETI were recorded with inertial measurement units (IMUs) on the left wrist. The signals were assessed visually between novice and experienced providers to identify areas of differences at key steps during ETI. We then calculated spectral smoothness (SS), a quantitative measure inversely related to movement variability, for all ETI attempts. Results. We enrolled five novice and five experienced providers. When visually inspecting the data, we noted maximum variability when inserting the blade of the laryngoscope into the mouth and while visualizing the glottic opening. Novice providers also had greater overall variability in their movement patterns (SS novice 6.4 versus SS experienced 26.6). Conclusion. Portable IMUs can be used to detect differences in movement patterns between novice and experienced providers in cadavers. Future ETI educational efforts may utilize portable IMUs to help accelerate the learning curve of novice providers.