Fiberoptic intubation of severely obese patients through supraglottic airway: A prospective, randomized trial of the Ambu® AuraGain™ laryngeal mask vs the i-gel™ airway

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Airway management in severely obese patients remains a challenging issue for anaesthetists and may lead to life-threatening situations. Supraglottic airway devices, such as the i-gel™ or the AuraGain™, were developed, with the possibility to ventilate the patient or use them as a conduit for endotracheal intubation.


In our randomized prospective trial, we hypothesized a 10 seconds faster fiberoptic trans-device intubation time through the AuraGain™ laryngeal mask compared to the i-gel™ laryngeal mask in severely obese patients. We randomly assigned 44 patients to the AuraGain or i-gel group and measured trans-device intubation time after 5 minutes of successful ventilation through the device. Secondary parameters relating to the trans-device intubation success, oropharyngeal leak pressure, and parameters regarding insertion of the supraglottic airway devices were measured. Postoperative airway morbidity was determined 5 hours after surgery.


Mean (SD) intubation time was 55.7 (5.8) seconds for the AuraGain™ vs 54.1 (8.5) for i-gel™ mask (95% CI −2.7 to 5.9; P = 0.474), respectively, on a mean body mass index (BMI) of 39.4 kg/m2 in the AuraGain™ group vs 38.9 kg/m2 in i-gel™ group. No difference could be found in the other studied parameters.


Time for intubation through both supraglottic airway devices was similar. Attributed to fast possibility of securing the airway with both supraglottic airway devices, we believe that both, AuraGain™ and i-gel™, can be a good alternative in the airway management in obese patients.

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