Survey of laryngeal mask airway usage in 11,910 patients: safety and efficacy for conventional and nonconventional usage

Anesth Analg. 1996 Jan;82(1):129-33. doi: 10.1097/00000539-199601000-00023.


A survey of laryngeal mask airway (LMA) usage was conducted to provide general information about safety and efficacy with special emphasis on controversial issues such as positive pressure ventilation (PPV), prolonged anesthesia, and laparoscopic and nonlaparoscopic intraabdominal surgery. During the 2-yr study period, of the 39,824 patients who underwent general anesthesia, 11,910 (29.9%) patient airways were managed with the LMA. Forty-four percent underwent PPV. Placement was successful in 99.81%, and in 23 patients the LMA was abandoned in favor of the tracheal tube (TT). Use of the LMA for any intraabdominal procedure was considered nonconventional and occurred in 2222 (18.7%) patients. On 579 occasions procedures lasted > 2 h. A total of 44 critical incidents were documented. Eighteen (0.15%) were related to the airway and none required intensive care management. There were 26 critical incidents not related to the airway which resulted in two admissions to the intensive care unit and one death. There were three cases of failed tracheal intubation managed with the LMA. This survey demonstrates that the LMA technique is safe and effective for both spontaneous and controlled ventilation. Use of the LMA for gynecologic laparoscopy, gynecologic laparotomy, and procedures > 2 h also appears safe.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesiology / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laryngeal Masks / adverse effects
  • Laryngeal Masks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged