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Difficult Airway & High Risk Procedures Course Using a Fresh Cadaver Model


This is an annual two-day workshop that offers our residents an incredible opportunity to hone their skills in airway management, and to practice critical life-saving Emergency Medicine procedures. The two-day course is a hands-on experience progresses the learner from basic knowledge and mechanical skills, to use of the most advanced skills, use of rescue airway devices and techniques.

The course also teaches residents how to perform many of the high stakes, low frequency procedures that are critical in the training of any emergency physician. It uses a variety of models, including fresh cadavers, porcine tracheas, computerized airway simulations, traditional mannequins and advanced in situ SIM to offer an interactive and varied learning environment.

The Annual Airway and Procedures Course

The course is initiated with lectures on airway anatomy, laryngoscopy mechanics, Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI), the difficulty airway and the pediatric airway. The first afternoon has multiple small group stations where the residents learn, through hands-on practice, multiple airway rescue devices/techniques. The stations include:

  • Cricothyroidotomy, practiced on pig necks and mannequins
  • Fiberoptic intubation, using a computer simulation model and a mannequin model
  • Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) and Intubating LMA
  • King LT Airway
  • AirTraq Optical Laryngoscope
  • Video Mac Blade
  • GlideScope® Video Laryngoscope
  • Bougies
  • Chest Tubes
  • Intraosseous Lines
  • Ambu® aScope™
  • Pediatric Airway Devices

The second day of the course uses fresh cadavers in the anatomy lab. The morning is dedicated to the mechanics of direct laryngoscopy. Residents intubate up to 9 different cadavers (each with unique anatomical and laryngoscopic characteristics) multiple times using a variety of techniques. Every intubation is supervised and critiqued by EM faculty. Immediate video playback is utilized allowing the residents to visualize their own mechanics and learn from their own intubations. Residents perform at least 30 - 40 endotracheal intubations during this session. After an intensive direct laryngoscopy session, the residents practice using various airway devices on the cadaver model including Video Mac Blade, GlideScope, LMA, ILMA, bougie, King LT Airway, AirTraq, and fiberoptic intubation.

The course ends with the residents performing rare but crucial emergency procedures on the fresh cadaver:

  • Thoracostomy (Pigtail catheters & Chest Tubes)
  • Emergency Thoracotomy
  • Cricothyroidotomy
  • Lateral Canthotomy

Course Director

  • Jonathan St. George, MD


  • Biren Bhatt, MD
  • Brenna Farmer, MD
  • Frank Lovaglio, MD
  • Rishi Madhok, MD
  • Anup Pamnani, MD
  • Kabir Rezvankhoo, MD
  • David Riley MD
  • Osman Sayan, MD
  • Sam Senturia, MD
  • Kevin Ching, MD
  • Ralph Slepian, MD
  • Aleksandr Tichter, MD
  • Anju Wagh, MD
  • David Bodnar, MD
  • Neel Naik, MD
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Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Weill Medical College of Cornell University