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Background and objective: To evaluate the ease with which successful insertion of a laryngeal mask airway can be performed in comparison with endotracheal intubation by medical personnel wearing chemical protective equipment.
Methods: Anaesthetists and non-anaesthetists (each n = 20) participated in the prospective comparative trial in an animal laboratory. The time and success rates of laryngeal mask airway vs. endotracheal tube insertions were measured as performed on anaesthetized monkeys.
Results: The results showed that the laryngeal mask airway was inserted more rapidly than the endotracheal tube by both groups (3.6 s and 28.6 s, P < 0.0001). Failed intubation occurred in 35% (anaesthetists) vs. 55% (non-anaesthetists) (P = 0.17).
Conclusions: In view of the 100% success rate of insertion even in unfavourable conditions, the possible role of the laryngeal mask airway in the scenario of a toxic mass casualty event should be considered.
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