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Br J Anaesth. 2000 Feb;84(2):254-6.

The intubating laryngeal mask airway does not facilitate tracheal intubation in the presence of a neck collar in simulated trauma.

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Anaesthetic Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Portsmouth, UK.


Tracheal intubation must be performed with great care in the multiply injured patient when it must be assumed that the cervical spine may be damaged. Use of conventional direct laryngoscopy usually requires removal of the neck collar and manual in-line stabilization of the head and neck. The intubating laryngeal mask (ILMA) has been designed to facilitate tracheal intubation in the neutral position. We used the ILMA to intubate the trachea in 10 patients wearing a neck collar and with cricoid pressure applied in a simulated trauma scenario. The ILMA was difficult to insert and ventilation proved difficult. In only two patients was intubation successful. These problems were probably caused by the neck collar strap under the chin lifting up and tipping the larynx anteriorly. On the basis of these findings, ILMA use in a subject wearing a neck collar cannot be recommended.

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