Background and objective The intubating laryngeal mask (intubating laryngeal mask airway) was designed to facilitate blind intubation. Its value as an adjunct to fibreoptic laryngoscopy has not been evaluated. This study compares the intubating laryngeal mask airway with the standard laryngeal mask airway as conduits for fibreoptic laryngoscopy.
Methods The fibreoptic view of the laryngeal inlet was graded via both devices in 60 anaesthetized patients. The fibreoptic view through the intubating laryngeal mask airway was assessed after the central epiglottic elevator bar had been lifted out of the field of vision by an 8-mm Euromedical® tracheal tube, which was inserted to a depth of 18 cm. The fibreoptic view from the aperture bars of the laryngeal mask was recorded.
Results The vocal cords were viewed less frequently through the intubating laryngeal mask airway (52%) than through the laryngeal mask airway (92%) [difference = 40% (95% CI = 26% to 54%), P < 0.0001].
Conclusion The view of the laryngeal inlet is better through the laryngeal mask airway than through a tracheal tube inserted to 18 cm in the intubating laryngeal mask.