Welcome to The Vortex! What is the Vortex you ask? Well, if you clicked on the link you would already know. If not…
The Vortex is a really nice difficult/failed intubation algorithm designed by a Nicholas Chrimes, a Melbourne anaesthetist and one of our very own retrieval specialists from Adult Retrieval Victoria in Melbourne, Peter Fritz. This algorithm is essentially the same one that I have been using for some time, however it is presented in an easy to understand, easy to remember format that is ideal for having printed out and nearby whenever you pick up a laryngoscope in anger. I wish I had this when I started my airway training rather than the typical (lengthy) flow charts I memorised.
The Vortex is designed to be easily understood by anyone and able to be universally applied regardless of background or training in airway management that the individual may have. I really like the “Green Zone” concept where, so long as the alveoli are receiving oxygen, we have time to stop and think about our next move.
Peter and Nicholas have made this tool freely available and have some excellent resources on their site including an e-book and videos of the Vortex in action. Minh Le Cong has also interviewed Peter and Nicholas over at PHARM and the podcast is well worth a listen as they delve deeper into the concept and execution of the Vortex. Of note for me is their assertion that airway management is a team sport. This is very different to how I was taught but I think it really has value when the brown stuff is hitting the spinning thing. It is very easy to became task orientated when wielding steel and plastic and other members of the team may not have to experience (or bravery) point that out. With this tool anyone should be able to feel able to draw the intubators attention to what is going wrong and help correct things.
I think this is a brilliant tool for all paramedics to have, so check it out and let me know what you think.