Background: Supraglottic airway devices (SGAD) have become more important in airway management over the past years and an objective comparison of the available devices is in order.
Methods: In a prospective study the four SGADs LMA-Classic(cLMA), LMA-ProSeal (PLMA), Ambu AuraOnce and Intersurgical i-gel were compared in groups of 40 patients in ambulatory surgery, with respect to the feasibility of positioning, leak tightness, patient comfort and airway morbidity. The seal test of the airway devices was carried out with a specially constructed pneumotachograph.
Results: Adequate placement on the first attempt was achieved in 92.5% with the cLMA, 85% with the PLMA, 92.5% with the AuraOnce and 82.5% with the i-gel (p>0.05). There were no clinically relevant differences in mean insertion times: cLMA 13.8 s (+/-3.4 s), PLMA 13 s (+/-3.2 s), AuraOnce 11.2 s (+/-2.7 s; p<0.05) and 13.9 s (+/-3.6 s) with the i-gel. A tight seal at a constant oropharyngeal pressure of 15 cmH(2)O was achieved in 85% of the cases (34 cases) with the cLMA, 90% (36 cases) with the PLMA, 97.5% (39 cases) with the AuraOnce and 72.5% (29 cases) with the i-gel (p<0.05). A tight seal at a constant oropharyngeal pressure of 20 cmH(2)O was seen in 62.5% with the cLMA, 60% with the PLMA, 67.5% with the AuraOnce and in 50% with the i-gel of the cases (p>0.05). Airway morbidity was not observed in any group. Significantly more patients complained of a sore throat after using the cLMA (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The tested SGADs were comparable with regard to ease of insertion, insertion times and airway morbidity. Considering leak tightness and patient comfort the PLMA and the AuraOnce fared better with regard to tightness of seal and patient comfort.