Arlington Heights Fire Department Medic Named IDPH EMS Instructor of the Year for Developing Specific Video Laryngoscopy Technique and Trial Program

Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedic Andrew Hansen

Arlington Heights Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Hansen Named Illinois Department of Public Health’s EMS Instructor of the Year for Developing Specific Video Laryngoscopy Technique and Trial Program for Endotracheal Intubation (ET)

Arlington Heights Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Andrew Hansen was featured this past week in the Daily Herald Suburban Heroes stories category. Hansen was recognized on May 21, 2018 for his Illinois Department of Public Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Instructor of the Year award based on his commitment to education and efforts to improve the quality of patient care provided throughout the Northwest Community Hospital system and beyond. Specifically, Hansen improved one of the most essential techniques paramedics provide — endotracheal intubation or the placement of a tube in the airway for reliable emergency breathing support.


Hansen identified a need to improve the endotracheal intubation (ET) success rates and performed evidence-based research to develop a specific video laryngoscopy technique. He created and oversaw the trial program and — with the assistance of Dr. Matthew Jordan, EMS Medical Director — personally taught every system paramedic the video laryngoscope technique. According to the Village of Arlington Heights, results of the trial program showed an increase in intubation success rates not seen anywhere in the United States. Also, in 2017 Hansen received a commendation from the Northwest Community EMS System for his “exemplary spirit to others and commitment to excellent, evidence-based care.”

First aid and Emergency Medical Services have come a long way. In the 1970s before the paramedic program began, some physicians and some lawmakers wanted to prohibit the use of a laryngoscope. However, Northwest Community’s founder of the EMS system, Stanley M. Zydlo, M.D. changed the name of the laryngoscope to “right angle flashlight” to get the legislation to use the laryngoscope approved — essential to the start the paramedic program with the best airway support available. The legislation was approved and Buffalo Grove Fire Department firefighter/paramedics transported the first EMS patient in Illinois to Northwest Community Hospital. At 8:13 a.m. December 1, 1972, Northwest Community Hospital received its first contact from a Buffalo Grove Fire Department MICU or Mobile Intensive Care Unit.

Recently, many fire department EMS services have implemented an update to the laryngoscope with a video laryngoscope that costs about $1500. The primary function of any laryngoscope for paramedics is to bring the larynx and vocal cords into view, so that a breathing tube (endotracheal tube) can be inserted deep into the airway to provide reliable air for breathing in compromised patients. The video laryngoscope enhances visualization of a patient’s airway with illumination and a color LCD display. Using the video laryngoscope also minimizes damage to soft tissue in the throat. The video laryngoscope is also designed for “difficult intubations” to enhance ET in difficult situations, where paramedics don’t always work in the most ideal work conditions, and when their patients might present difficult anatomy for visualization of the larynx.

Many of the fire departments use the King Vision aBlade by Ambu [listed on the NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen AMBU B, AMBU, (DK0060946788)] and finance.yahoo.com Ambu A/S (AMBU-B.CO)].

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Ambu KingVISION video laryngoscope product demonstration.

Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedic Andrew HansenArlington Heights firefighter/paramedic Andrew Hansen (SOURCE: Village of Arlington Heights).