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Anaesthesia. 1996 Oct;51(10):969-72.

Safety and efficacy of the laryngeal mask airway. A prospective survey of 1400 children.

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Maranon University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.


A survey of laryngeal mask airway usage in 1400 infants and children by ten trainee anaesthetists was undertaken to provide information about insertion and complication rates using the standard insertion technique and a limited range of standardised anaesthetic techniques. Placement was successful in 90% (1258/1400) at the first attempt, 8% (112/1400) at the second attempt and 2% (29/1400) required an alternative technique of insertion. One patient vomited during insertion and the procedure was abandoned, but aspiration did not occur. The overall problem rate was 11.5% and there were significantly more problems during induction of anaesthesia (p < 0.02). Oxygen saturation decreased below 90% briefly on 23 occasions (1.7%). The incidence of problems was unrelated to the mode of ventilation, or whether isoflurane or total intravenous anaesthesia with propofol was used for maintenance. Most problems came with use of the size 1 laryngeal mask (p < 0.001). The subspecialty with the highest problem rate was ear, nose and throat surgery (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in problems with increasing experience (p < 0.001). There was no major morbidity associated with use of the device. We conclude that the laryngeal mask provides a safe and effective form of airway management for infants and children in the hands of supervised anaesthesia trainees both for spontaneous and controlled ventilation using either isoflurane or total intravenous anaesthesia.

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