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Anaesthesia. 1998 Jun;53(6):540-4.

Respiratory complications associated with tracheal extubation. Timing of tracheal extubation and use of the laryngeal mask during emergence from anaesthesia.

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Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK.


Sixty patients were randomly allocated to one of three groups and the incidences of respiratory complications which occurred during emergence from anaesthesia were compared under the following three circumstances: tracheal extubation after the patient had regained consciousness (awake group); tracheal extubation while the patient was still anaesthetised (anaesthetised group); and the use of the laryngeal mask during emergence from anaesthesia (mask group). In the mask group, the laryngeal mask was inserted under deep anaesthesia before tracheal extubation and the lungs were ventilated through the laryngeal mask after tracheal extubation. In the awake group, straining (bucking) occurred in 18 patients and desaturation (arterial oxygen haemoglobin saturation < 95%) in two patients. In the anaesthetised group, airway obstruction occurred in 17 patients and desaturation in one of these patients. In the mask group, ventilation through the laryngeal mask was temporarily difficult immediately after tracheal extubation in one patient and coughing occurred before removal of the mask in three patients. No respiratory complications occurred in two patients in the awake group, three patients in the anaesthetised group and 16 patients in the mask group. The incidence of respiratory complications during recovery from anaesthesia was significantly lower in the mask group than in the other two groups (pooled) (p << 0.001). Therefore, the use of the laryngeal mask after tracheal extubation decreases the incidence of respiratory complications during recovery from anaesthesia.

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