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Can J Anaesth. 1999 Apr;46(4):376-8.

The intubating laryngeal mask airway in failed fibreoptic intubation.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, Alberta.



Prediction of difficult tracheal intubation is not always reliable and management with fibreoptic intubation is not always successful. We describe two cases in which blind intubation through the intubating laryngeal mask airway (ILMA FasTrach) succeeded after fibreoptic intubation failed.


The first patient, a 50 yr old man, was scheduled for elective craniotomy for intracerebral tumour. Difficulty with intubation was not anticipated. Manual ventilation was easily performed following induction of general anesthesia, but direct laryngoscopy revealed only the tip of the epiglottis. Intubation attempts with a styletted 8.0 mm endotracheal tube and with the fibreoptic bronchoscope were unsuccessful. A #5 FasTrach was inserted through which a flexible armored cuffed 8.0 mm silicone tube passed into the trachea at the first attempt. The second patient, a 43 yr old man, presented with limited mouth opening, swelling of the right submandibular gland that extended into the retropharynx and tracheal deviation to the left. He was scheduled for urgent tracheostomy. Attempted awake fibreoptic orotracheal intubation under topical anesthesia showed gross swelling of the pharyngeal tissues and only fleeting views of the vocal cords. A #4 FasTrach was easily inserted, a clear airway obtained and a cuffed 8.0 mm silicone tube passed into the trachea at the first attempt.


The FasTrach may facilitate blind tracheal intubation when fibreoptic intubation is unsuccessful.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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