(Gum-elastic) bougie

FEATURES

The bougie (also called 'introducer', 'gum-elastic bougie' or 'GEB') is device which allows a Seldinger-like technique of intubating a patient's airway. This means the device is inserted into the airway first, then an endotracheal tube is railroaded over the bougie into the airway, after which the device is removed.

The device is moderately flexible and can be bent into shape from its straight form, in which it is supplied.

Bougies are commonly about 15F in diameter and 70cm in length, although this might vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. The tip of the bougie is angled at 30 degrees and should point anteriorly during intubation to facilitate navigation of the device towards an anteriorly-located larynx.


USES

The device can come in useful during a 'typical' oral intubation, when the view of the larynx is suboptimal, and particularly if this is due to an anterior larynx. Bougies are also commonly used during endotracheal tube or tracheostomy exchange, much like an airway exchange catheter. Bougies, in contrast to airway exchange catheters, do not have a central lumen and can therefore not be used to oxygenate the patient.

The technique of how to intubate with a bougie is described here.