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Br J Anaesth. 2009 Dec;103(6):882-5. doi: 10.1093/bja/aep292. Epub 2009 Oct 20.

Randomized crossover comparison between the i-gel and the LMA-Unique in anaesthetized, paralysed adults.

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  • 1Section of Anaesthesia, Pain and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK.



The i-gel differs from other supraglottic airway devices, in that it has a softer, non-inflatable cuff. This study was designed to compare the performance of the i-gel and the LMA-Unique (LMA-U) when used during anaesthesia in paralysed patients.


Both devices were studied in 39 anaesthetized, paralysed patients in a randomized crossover trial. The primary outcome was airway leak pressure. Secondary outcomes included time to insertion, the number of insertion and reposition attempts, leak volumes, and leak fractions.


There was no significant difference between the airway leak pressures of the two devices [median (IQR) leak pressures 25 (22-30) vs 22 (20-28) cm H(2)O for the i-gel and LMA-U, respectively; P=0.083, 95% CI of the mean difference -0.32 to 4.88 cm H(2)O]. The median (IQR) insertion time for the i-gel was significantly less than for the LMA-U [12.2 (9.7-14.3) vs 15.2 (13.2-17.3) s; P=0.007]. All the LMA-U devices and 38 of 39 i-gel airways were inserted at the first attempt. The number of manipulations required after insertion to achieve a clear airway was the same in both the groups (four in each). There were no statistically significant differences in leak volumes or leak fractions during controlled ventilation.


We found no difference in leak pressures and success rate of first-time insertion between the i-gel and the LMA-U. Time to successful insertion was significantly shorter for the i-gel. We conclude that the i-gel provides a reasonable alternative to the LMA-U for controlled ventilation during anaesthesia.

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