Cricothyrotomy Online: Quality Assessment of Educational Videos on YouTube

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The American surgeon




education; educational videos; emergency cricothyrotomy; online learning; surgery videos


BACKGROUND: Medical learners may use YouTube® videos to prepare for procedures. Videos are convenient and readily available, but without any uploading standards, their accuracy and quality for education are uncertain. We assessed the quality of emergency cricothyrotomy videos on YouTube through an expert panel of surgeons with objective quality metrics. METHODS: A YouTube® search for "emergency cricothyrotomy" was performed and results were filtered to remove animations and lectures. The 4 most-viewed videos were sent to a panel of trauma surgeons for evaluation. An educational quality (EQ) score was generated for each video based on its ability to explain the procedure indications, orient the viewer to the patient, provide accurate narration, provide clear views of procedure, identify relevant instrumentation and anatomy, and explain critical maneuvers. Reviewers were also asked if safety concerns were present and encouraged to give feedback in a free-response field. RESULTS: Four surgical attendings completed the survey. The median EQ score was 6 on a 7-point scale (95% CI [6, 6]). All but one of the individual parameters had a median EQ score of 6 (95% CI: indications [3, 7], orientation [5, 7], narration [6, 7], clarity [6, 7], instruments [6, 7], anatomy [6, 6], critical maneuvers [5, 6]). Safety received a lower EQ score (5.5, 95% CI [2, 6]). CONCLUSIONS: The most-viewed cricothyrotomy videos were rated positively by surgical attendings. Still, it is necessary to know if medical learners can distinguish high from low quality videos. If not, this suggests a need for surgical societies to create high-quality videos that can be reliably and efficiently accessed on YouTube®.