Risk of pulmonary aspiration with laryngeal mask airway and tracheal tube: analysis on 65 712 procedures with positive pressure ventilation

Anaesthesia. 2009 Dec;64(12):1289-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2009.06140.x. Epub 2009 Oct 23.


We compared the risk of pulmonary aspiration in patients whose lungs were mechanically ventilated through a laryngeal mask airway (35 630 procedures) or tracheal tube (30 082 procedures). Three cases of pulmonary aspiration occurred with the laryngeal mask airway and seven with the tracheal tube. There were no deaths related to pulmonary aspiration. The incidence and outcome of pulmonary aspiration detected in this study were similar to those previously reported. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for pulmonary aspiration with the laryngeal mask airway was 1.06 (95% CI 0.20-5.62). Unplanned surgery (OR 30.5, 95% CI 8.6-108.9) and male sex (OR 8.6, 95% CI 1.1-68) were associated with an increased risk of aspiration and age < 14 years with a reduced risk (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.07-0.64). There were contraindications and exclusions to the use of the laryngeal mask airway but in this selected population the use of an laryngeal mask airway was not associated with an increased risk of pulmonary aspiration compared with a tracheal tube.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Child
  • Contraindications
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Laryngeal Masks / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / adverse effects*
  • Respiratory Aspiration / etiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult