Purpose: This report describes a technique of ventilation prior to laryngoscopy and intubation that proved to be simple, inexpensive and effective for a patient whose airway evaluation suggested difficult mask ventilation. The technique is called Poor Man's LMA.
Clinical features: A 60-yr-old male, measuring 170 cm, weighing 117 kg, edentulous and with a full beard, was to undergo uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. After induction of general anesthesia with a hypnotic, analgesic and non-depolarizing muscle relaxant, it was soon determined that mask bag ventilation was difficult due to an inadequate seal between the mask and the patient's full beard. To improve ventilation, an endotracheal tube was placed into the oropharynx, the lips and nose compressed by a colleague in order to prevent gas egress, and effective manual ventilation established by connecting the circle system to the endotracheal tube. Subsequent direct laryngoscopy and intubation were accomplished without incident.
Conclusion: The patient's clinical features made conventional mask bag ventilation difficult and inadequate. The Poor Man's LMA technique improved oxygenation and ventilation in preparation for intubation. Further investigations on the usefulness of this technique are warranted.