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Airway mannequin air bladders: Taking the old and making it new

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The team aims to improve intubation training by designing a variable air pathway for existing mannequins, ultimately improving patient outcomes for this high risk, low frequency procedure.

Project Overview

Intubation is a “high risk, low frequency” procedure performed by medical professionals that ensures sufficient air enters and exits the lungs either in emergency respiratory situations or when a patient is under anesthesia. Some potential adverse events associated with intubation procedures include death [1], hypoxemia, tracheal rupture, cardiovascular complications, lacerations, and aspiration of vomit or other substances [2]. Approximately 15.65 million intubations are performed annually in the United States [3], showcasing the need for healthcare workers to be properly trained on a variety of medical scenarios in which intubation is required. Typically, physicians, anesthesiologists, EMTs [4], and critical care providers [2] perform the majority of intubations and, therefore, represent the largest group of beneficiaries of advancements in intubation training. Currently, advanced mannequins used for difficult airway management training are expensive, not widely available, and do not involve tracheal movement. The team aims to design a device which can be integrated with an existing intubation mannequin and will alter tracheal anatomical geometries to simulate more difficult air pathways. The device will possess 6 specific variations in tracheal placement requested by the client to increase the difficulty of an intubation. This will allow for enhanced training, and ultimately result in improved patient outcomes for intubations. The team’s objective is to better prepare healthcare professionals for intubation procedures, and subsequently make progress toward their overarching goal of improving urgent care for diverse patients in variable circumstances.

[1] J. L. Apfelbaum, C. A. Hagberg, R. A. Caplan, C. D. Blitt, R. T. Connis, D. G. Nickinovich, C. A. Hagberg, R. A. Caplan, J. L. Benumof, F. A. Berry, C. D. Blitt, R. H. Bode, F. W. Cheney, R. T. Connis, O. F. Guidry, D. G. Nickinovich, and A. Ovassapian, “Practice guidelines for management of the difficult airway,” Anesthesiology, vol. 118, no. 2, pp. 251–270, 2013.

[2] A. C. Alvarado and P. Panakos, “Endotracheal tube Intubation techniques,” NCBI, 27-Jul-2021. [Online]. Available:,on%20the%20operator's%20right%20hand. [Accessed: 18-Sep-2021].

[3] J. S. Turner, A. W. Bucca, S. L. Propst, T. J. Ellender, E. J. Sarmiento, L. M. Menard, and B. R. Hunter, “Association of checklist use in endotracheal Intubation with clinically Important Outcomes A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” JAMA Network Open, vol. 3, no. 7, 2020.

[4] Unitek College, “Step-by-step master's guide to intubation,” Unitek College, 14-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 18-Sep-2021].

Team Picture

Samuel Skirpan, Annabel Frake, Josh Andreatta, Riley Toth, Samantha RusselHapp, Tevis Linser
Samuel Skirpan, Annabel Frake, Josh Andreatta, Riley Toth, Samantha RusselHapp, Tevis Linser

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Annabel Frake - Co-Team Leader
  • Samuel Skirpan - Co-Team Leader
  • Josh Andreatta - Communicator
  • Riley Toth - BSAC
  • Samantha RusselHapp - BWIG
  • Tevis Linser - BPAG
  • Annie Zlevor

Advisor and Client

  • Prof. John Puccinelli - Advisor
  • Dr. Micah Long - Client

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