Objective: Intubation is a difficult skill under normal circumstances and more so with a limited visual field such as wearing a protective mask in a chemical or biological incident. This study sought to determine whether successful intubation using the intubating laryngeal mask airway (ILMA) under protective mask conditions was equivalent to standard endotracheal intubation.
Methods: A pilot study was conducted using emergency medicine personnel. Participant's attempted intubation of a manikin while wearing a standard U.S. Army M-40 protective mask. Two attempts were performed with each method.
Results: One hundred percent of the ILMA placements were successful with only 78% success with endotracheal intubation (p = 0.1). Time to successful intubation and ventilation was significantly less for the ILMA versus endotracheal intubation (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: This study suggests that under simulated chemical and biological conditions using an M-40 protective mask, intubation is accomplished faster and with more success with the ILMA.