High-frequency jet ventilation (HFJV) is a safe, effective anaesthetic technique with a low risk of aspiration which has not yet gained wide acceptance in laryngology. Following anaesthesia and muscular relaxation the patient is intubated with a size 7FG infant feeding catheter and ventilation is achieved by delivering small bursts of anaesthetic gas at high frequency. The mechanisms of gas exchange are thought to be little different from those of conventional ventilation. We have found HFJV to be of value in laryngoscopy, laryngo-tracheal reconstruction, tracheoplasty, bronchoscopy and tonsillectomy.
The advantages include:
(a) ease of intubation, especially in the presence of a supraglottic mass;
(b) improved surgical access compared with a conventional endotracheal tube; and
(c) protection of the airway by the inherent ‘auto-PEEP’ effect. Care must be taken to ensure that conditions allow adequate exhaust of expired gas. Humidification of inspired gas is essential during prolonged procedures.