Randomized trial of endotracheal tube versus laryngeal mask airway in simulated prehospital pediatric arrest

Lei Chen, Allen L Hsiao
Pediatrics 2008, 122 (2): e294-7

OBJECTIVE: Proficiency in airway management in children is difficult to acquire and maintain for prehospital providers. The laryngeal mask airway is a relatively new airway device. Its ease of use makes it an attractive potential alternative to endotracheal tubes in pediatrics. The objective of this study was to investigate whether, in simulated cardiopulmonary arrests in children, the use of laryngeal mask airway, compared with endotracheal tubes, results in shorter time to effective ventilation when performed by prehospital providers.

METHODS: A randomized, crossover study was conducted in a local paramedic training program. Fifty-two emergency medical technicians agreed to participate. After a 2-hour training session, an arrest scenario was presented to each participant by using an infant-sized human patient simulator. The participants were randomly assigned first to use 1 of the 2 devices. Time to successful ventilation was recorded. Number of attempts and results were recorded. After the airway was secured successfully, the scenario was repeated with the alternative device.

RESULTS: The mean +/- SD length of time to effective ventilation was 46 seconds when using endotracheal tubes and 23 seconds when using laryngeal mask airway, with a mean difference of 23 seconds. The mean number of attempts to achieve effective ventilation was 1.27 when using endotracheal tubes and 1.1 when using laryngeal mask airway. There were 9 (17%) episodes of esophageal intubations and 14 (27%) episodes of right main-stem intubations in the endotracheal tube group, and there were 5 (9.5%) episodes of malposition in the laryngeal mask airway group.

CONCLUSIONS: In simulated pediatric arrests, the use of laryngeal mask airway, compared with endotracheal tubes, led to more rapid establishment of effective ventilation and fewer complications when performed by prehospital providers.

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