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Are the King LTS Laryngeal Tube and the Ambu AuraOnce Laryngeal Mask Useful Airway Adjuncts for Military Medics?

Danny Regner, Peter Frykholm
Journal of Special Operations Medicine: a Peer Reviewed Journal for SOF Medical Professionals, 18 (2): 90-96

BACKGROUND: Airway management is a critical skill that may be essential in the battlefield. The aim of this study was to determine if combat life savers and medics with no or limited clinical experience could provide airway control using the disposable laryngeal suction tube (LTS-D) and the Ambu® AuraOnce ™ disposable laryngeal mask (LMA).

METHODS: Eight military medics with limited clinical experience and no airway management experience secured the airway on 19 intrahospital anesthetized patients using the LTS-D and the LMA. Each patient was treated with both airway adjuncts in a randomized order. Each medic was studied on at least two and not more than three patients. Success of insertion, number of attempts, and time to correct placement with verified ventilation were recorded.

RESULTS: When using the LTS-D, the first-attempt success rate for the medics with the first patient was 50% (four of eight) and 75% (six of eight) on the second attempt. With the second patient, the first-attempt success rate was 87.5% (seven of eight), and on the third patient, it was 100% (three of three). For all patients, the accumulated first-attempt success rate was 73.7% (14 of 19) and 84.2% (16 or 19) for second attempts with the LTS-D. The success rate on first attempt with the LMA was 100% (19 of 19) on the first patient. On the second intervention with the LMA, there was a significant decrease in mean time to verified ventilation, from 56.4 seconds to 27.7 seconds (ρ = .043), and time to verified ventilation with no leakage, from 61.3 seconds to 32.3 seconds (ρ = .029). Insertion attempts for three LTS-Ds and one LMA failed.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that for the safe use of the laryngeal tube suction by inexperienced airway providers, a clinical training program is required. The LMA proved superior to the LTS-D with a 100% success rate at the first attempt, which suggests that minimal training is needed before clinical use. We therefore recommend the LMA as the primary airway adjunct for military medics, despite a hypothetically inferior protection from aspiration.


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