Lignocaine topicalization of the pediatric airway

Paediatr Anaesth. 2016 Apr;26(4):337-44. doi: 10.1111/pan.12868. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


The application of topical laryngeal lignocaine is a technique used frequently in pediatric anesthesia. It is often used to facilitate open airway procedures, tracheal intubation, or to reduce the incidence of perioperative adverse respiratory events such as coughing and laryngospasm. A number of studies have shown that applying topical lignocaine to the larynx reduces perioperative respiratory adverse events, while others have shown an increased incidence of respiratory complications with lignocaine administration. There is a lack of evidence on the effect of topical lignocaine on the sensitivity of upper airway reflexes and swallowing, the duration of time that airway reflexes are obtunded, and the optimum and safe maximum dose of lignocaine when used by this route. We review the current literature relating to the use of lignocaine to topicalize the pediatric airway. This review concentrates on the indications for use, the maximum safe dose, the effect on swallowing, and risk of aspiration and the complications of the technique.

Keywords: airway management; child; lidocaine; local anesthesia; review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Airway Management / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Local / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lidocaine*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine