The laryngeal mask airway: a comprehensive review for the Emergency Physician

J Emerg Med. 2001 Jan;20(1):53-66. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(00)00273-0.


The Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) was developed in the 1980s, but has only recently begun to be used in Emergency Medicine. The LMA affords effective assisted ventilation without requiring endotracheal intubation or visualization of the glottis. In doing so, it is more efficacious than a bag-valve-mask apparatus, although the risk of aspiration of gastric contents persists, particularly if the device is not properly placed. The LMA also has significant potential utility in management of the difficult airway. Most reported clinical experience with the LMA has come from the operating room. This article provides an overview of the extensive potential utility of the LMA in the Emergency Department and prehospital settings as well as a comprehensive review of the pertinent advantages, disadvantages, and complications associated with its use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Contraindications
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Masks* / adverse effects