Supraglottic airway devices: indications, contraindications and management

Minerva Anestesiol. 2018 Mar;84(3):389-397. doi: 10.23736/S0375-9393.17.12112-7. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Supraglottic airway devices (SADs) have become an essential tool in airway management. Over the past three decades, these devices have been increasingly adopted as an alternative to face mask ventilation and/or endotracheal intubation. The range of proposed uses and features has increased significantly. They are used in pre- and in-hospital settings, elective and emergency anesthesia, in spontaneously breathing and ventilated patients, as conduits for intubation, as a bridge to extubation and for airway rescue. With SADs, serious complications such as aspiration and loss of airway are rare and largely preventable. Adequate operator experience, familiarity with the selected device, attention to details and careful patient selection are fundamental to safety and proficiency. In this review, we explore the increasing proposed uses for SADs and discuss possible complications and the management of these.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management / adverse effects
  • Airway Management / instrumentation*
  • Airway Management / methods
  • Contraindications
  • Epiglottis
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Resuscitation