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Anaesthesia. 2012 Dec;67(12):1375-85. doi: 10.1111/anae.12003.x.

Archie Brain: celebrating 30 years of development in laryngeal mask airways.

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Department of Anaesthesia, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


The practice of anaesthesia was revolutionised by the ideas of Archie Brain. The routine use of a facemask to manage the airway was not a hands-free technique, despite the development of various harnesses, and made adequate record-keeping difficult. The tracheal tube was associated with some morbidity, which some felt was unsuitable for day surgery. Brain developed an airway management device that was less stressful to the patient than tracheal intubation, and was, however, as safe as using a facemask and airway. Brain also hoped his device would function for cases where mask ventilation was particularly difficult and thus give anaesthetists a safer alternative to a complex intubation, especially in emergency scenarios.

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