The laryngeal mask airway in obstetrical anaesthesia

P S Gataure, J A Hughes
Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia 1995, 42 (2): 130-3
The laryngeal mask airway (LMA) has been used extensively to provide a safe airway in spontaneously breathing patients who are not at risk from aspiration of gastric contents. The role of the LMA in the event of a failed intubation in an obstetrical patient, and its place in a failed intubation drill remains unclear. Two hundred and fifty consultant obstetric anaesthetists in the United Kingdom were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire regarding their views about using the laryngeal mask airway (LMA) in obstetrical anaesthesia. The LMA was available in 91.4% of obstetric units. Seventy-two per cent of anaesthetists were in favour of using the LMA to maintain oxygenation when tracheal intubation had failed and ventilation using a face mask was inadequate. Twenty-four respondents had had personal experience with the LMA in obstetrical anaesthesia, eight of whom stated that the LMA had proved to be a lifesaver. We believe that the LMA has a role in obstetrical anaesthesia when tracheal intubation has failed and ventilation using a face mask proves to be impossible, and it should be inserted before attempting cricothyroidectomy.


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