Comparison of airway management with the intubating laryngeal mask, laryngeal tube and CobraPLA by paramedical students in anaesthetized patients

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2006 Jan;50(1):40-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2005.00852.x.


Background: Because of the importance of airway management in emergency care, alternative methods with shorter learning curves for inexperienced personnel have been looked for as a substitute for endotracheal intubation (ETI).

Methods: We compared the success of insertion, oxygenation and ventilation of the intubating laryngeal mask (ILMA), laryngeal tube (LT) and CobraPLA (COB) in anaesthetized patients when used by paramedical students. After informed consent, 96 patients were monitored and anaesthetized for general surgery without the use of a muscle relaxant. After the induction of anaesthesia, 32 paramedical students inserted the ILMA, LT or COB in a random order and ventilated the patient for a 60-s period. The number of insertion attempts, the time needed for insertion, and oxygenation and ventilation parameters were recorded. The students gave a subjective evaluation of the airway devices after the test.

Results: Twenty-four of the 32 students (75%) successfully inserted ILMA at the first attempt, compared with 14 of 32 (44%) for LT and seven of 32 (22%) for COB (P<0.001, ILMA vs. COB). One student failed to insert ILMA after all three attempts, compared with seven of 32 (21%) using LT and seven of 32 (21%) using COB (P=not significant). Oxygenation and ventilation parameters did not differ between the groups after successful insertion.

Conclusion: Clinically inexperienced paramedical students can successfully use ILMA in anaesthetized patients. Further investigations are warranted to study whether ILMA or LT can replace ETI in emergency airway management when used by inexperienced medical or paramedical staff.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Disposable Equipment
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / education*
  • Humans
  • Intubation* / instrumentation
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Larynx*
  • Middle Aged
  • Students