Failure to ventilate with supraglottic airways after drowning

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2011 Jul;39(4):675-7. doi: 10.1177/0310057X1103900423.


We report the failure of an i-gel and an Ambu AuraOnce supraglottic airway to ventilate a drowning victim. Failure was attributed to changes in lung physiology following submersion and inhalation of water that may have required ventilation pressures up to 40 cmH2O to treat the victim's hypoxaemia. The ease of use and rapid insertion of supraglottic airways without interrupting cardiac compression has prompted recommendations for their use during resuscitation. The relatively low leak pressures attainable from many supraglottic airways, however may cause inadequate lung ventilation and entrainment of air into the stomach when these devices are used in drowning victims.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pressure
  • Drowning* / physiopathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal*
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Near Drowning / physiopathology
  • Near Drowning / therapy*
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Resuscitation
  • Treatment Failure