Feasibility of LMA Supreme for airway management in unconscious patients by ALS paramedics

Sami Länkimäki, Seppo Alahuhta, Tom Silfvast, Jouni Kurola
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2015 February 26, 23: 24

BACKGROUND: Airway management to ensure sufficient gas exchange is of major importance in emergency care. The accepted basic technique is to maintain an open airway and perform artificial ventilation in emergency situations is bag-valve mask (BVM) ventilation with manual airway management without airway adjuncts or with an oropharyngeal tube (OPA) only. Endotracheal intubation (ETI) is often referred to as the golden standard of airway management, but is associated with low success rates and significant insertion-related complications when performed by non-anaesthetists. Supraglottic devices (SADs) are one alternative to ETI in these situations, but there is limited evidence regarding the use of SAD in non-cardiac arrest situations. LMA Supreme (LMA-S) is a new SAD which theoretically has an advantage concerning the risk of aspiration due to an oesophageal inlet gastric tube port.

METHODS: Forty paramedics were recruited to participate in the study. Adult (>18 years) patients, unconscious due to medical or traumatic cause with a GCS score corresponding to 3-5 and needed airway management were included in the study. Our aim was to study the feasibility of LMA-S as a primary airway method in unconscious patients by advanced life support (ALS) trained paramedics in prehospital care.

RESULTS: Three regional Emergency Medical Service (EMS) services participated and 21 patients were treated during the survey. The LMA-S was placed correctly on the first attempt in all instances 21/21 (100%), with a median time to first ventilation of 9.8 s. Paramedics evaluated the insertion to be easy in every case 21/21 (100%). Because of air leak later in the patient care, the LMA-S was exchanged to an LT-D in two cases and to ETI in three cases (23.81%) by the paramedics. Regurgitation occurred after insertion two times out of 21 (9.52%) and in one of these cases (4.76%), paramedics reported regurgitation inside the LMA-S.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the LMA-S seems to be relatively easy and quick to insert in unconscious patients by paramedics. However, we found out that there were ventilation related problems with the LMA-S. Further studies are warranted.

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