[The applicability of the ProSeal laryngeal mask airway for laparotomies]

A Borkowski, T Perl, J Heuer, A Timmermann, U Braun
Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie: AINS 2005, 40 (8): 477-86

OBJECTIVE: The ProSeal laryngeal mask airway (PLMA) has some design features, which in contrast to the classic LMA allow separation of the respiration from the gastrointestinal canal, a higher leak pressure and a better position assessment. It can be debated if these instrumental improvements justify the application of the PLMA for elective abdominal surgery in cases without aspiration risk. Insertion of airway instruments and gastric tube with regard to insertion time and difficulties and frequency of side effects were to be compared for the tracheal tube and the PLMA. The pharyngolaryngeal morbidity for both methods was also of interest. It was approached with direct and indirect postoperative interview techniques.

METHODS: 65 patients were investigated both at the university hospital and at the hospital Neu-Bethlehem in Goettingen. The surgical intervention was a surgical or gynecological laparotomy. Anaesthesia was performed with a standardized application of propofol, alfentanil and rocuronium. Glycopyrroniumbromide was applied to minimize salivation. A total of 34 patients received the PLMA, 31 were intubated. All of them were provided with a gastric tube.

RESULTS: The insertion of the PLMA took 70 seconds (21 - 234) on average, the intubation 57 seconds (35 - 145). Endotracheal intubation was accomplished in a shorter time period, but there was no significant difference in comparison with the PLMA-group (p = 0.1924). Insertion of the PLMA was significantly more difficult than oral intubation (p = 0.0006). The base of the tongue and the dorsal pharyngeal wall, but not the vocal cords or the epiglottis were visible in those cases, where the PLMA could not be positioned at all. Here the tip of the cuff was bended. The time period for positioning of the gastric tube was 38 seconds (15 - 75) in the PLMA- and 57 seconds (22 - 219) in the tracheal tube group. With these results the gastric tube positioning was accomplished in a significantly shorter time period in the PLMA-group (p = 0.0267), but not at a significantly higher level of difficulty for endotracheal intubation (p = 0,6247). In one case there was regurgitation through the drainage tube without aspiration before gastric tube placement. At the direct interview 16 patients in the PLMA-group and 23 of the tube group mentioned postoperative throat symptoms. The most frequent symptom was hoarseness (11 PLMA- and 18 intubated patients). There was no significant difference between PLMA- and tracheal tube application with regard to the total number of patients with pharyngolaryngeal morbidity and the frequency of single symptoms. The same is true for the degree of the symptoms. There was a tendency for a longer prevalence of throat symptoms after intubation, but no significant difference.

CONCLUSION: In this investigation the PLMA could be successfully applied for elective laparotomies in cases without the risk of aspiration. Proper patient selection and a deep level of anaesthesia are important. The advantage for patients receiving the PLMA is a smooth recovery without cough, but not so much a reduced amount of pharyngolaryngeal morbidity. From this observation it might be concluded that the invasiveness of the surgical intervention might also influence the tolerance for the airway instrument. The disadvantage in this study was the more difficult insertion of the PLMA compared with the oral intubation. Further studies with a larger number of patients must show if these first results of the "Proseal"-LMA for lararotomies are to be confirmed.

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