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Am J Emerg Med. 2017 Mar;35(3):484-487. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2016.11.064. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

Comparison of the Macintosh laryngoscope and blind intubation via the iGEL for Intubation With C-spine immobilization: A Randomized, crossover, manikin trial.

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Department of Emergency Medical Service, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. Electronic address:
Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Endotracheal intubation (ETI) using a Macintosh laryngoscope (MAC) requires the head to be positioned in a modified Jackson position, slightly reclined and elevated. Intubation of trauma patients with an injured neck or spine is therefore difficult, since the neck usually cannot be turned or is already immobilized in order to prevent further injury. The iGEL supraglottic airway seems optimal for such conditions due to its blind insertion without the need of a modified Jackson position.


Prospective, randomized, crossover study in 46 paramedics. Participants performing standard intubation and blind intubation via iGEL supraglottic airway device in three airway scenarios: Scenario A - normal airway; Scenario B - manual inline cervical immobilization, performed by an independent instructor; scenario C: cervical immobilization using a standard Patriot cervical extraction collar.


In Scenario A, nearly all participants performed ETI successfully both with MAC and iGEL (100% vs. 95.7%). The time to intubation (TTI) using the MAC and iGEL amounted to 19 [IQR, 18-21]s vs. 12 [IQR, 11-13]s (P<0.001). Head extension angle as well as tooth compression were significantly better with the iGEL compared to the MAC (P<0.001). In scenario B and C, the results with the iGEL were significantly better than with MAC for all analyzed variables (TTI, success of first intubation attempt, head extension angle, tooth compression and VAS scores).


We showed that blind intubation with the iGEL supraglottic airway was superior to ETI performed by paramedics in a simulated cervical immobilization scenario in a manikin in terms of success rate, time to definite tube placement, head extension angle, tooth compression, and rating.


Blind intubation; Endotracheal tube; Immobilization; Paramedics

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