Intubating laryngeal mask airway

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2002 Oct;30(5):551-69. doi: 10.1177/0310057X0203000503.


The Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway (ILMA) was introduced into clinical practice in 1997 following numerous clinical trials involving 1110 patients. The success rate of blind intubation via the device after two attempts is 88% in "routine" cases. Successful intubation in a variety of difficult airway scenarios, including awake intubation, has been described, with the overall success rate in the 377 patients reported being approximately 98%. The use of the ILMA by the novice operator has also been investigated with conflicting reports as to its suitability for emergency intubation in this setting. Blind versus visualized intubation techniques have also been investigated. These techniques may provide some benefits in improved safety and success rates, although the evidence is not definitive. The use of a visualizing technique is recommended, especially whilst experience with intubation via the ILMA is being gained. The risk of oesophageal intubation is reported as 5% and one death has been described secondary to the complications of oesophageal perforation during blind intubation. Morbidity described with the use of the ILMA includes sore throat, hoarse voice and epiglottic oedema. Haemodynamic changes associated with intubation via the ILMA are of minimal clinical consequence. The ILMA is a valuable adjunct to the airway management armamentarium, especially in cases of difficult airway management. Success with the device is more likely if the head of the patient is maintained in the neutral position, when the operator has practised at least 20 previous insertions and when the accompanying lubricated armoured tube is used.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / instrumentation*
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Safety
  • Female
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Laryngeal Masks*
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity