Effect of head position on the success rate of blind intubation using intubating supraglottic airway devices

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To evaluate the effect of head position on the performance of intubating supraglottic airway devices, we compared the success rate of blind intubation in the head-elevated and the pillowless head positions with the LMA Fastrach and the air-Q, and the change of glottic visualization through the air-Q.


We assigned 193 patients to two groups according to the device used and subgrouped by head position used for intubation: Fastrach/pillowless, Fastrach/head-elevated, air-Q/pillowless, and air-Q/head-elevated. Blind intubation through the Fastrach or the air-Q was attempted up to twice after induction of general anesthesia. Before the attempt at blind intubation with the air-Q, the percentage of glottic opening (POGO) score was also fiberscopically evaluated at the outlet of the device in both head positions in a cross-over fashion.


The Fastrach significantly facilitated blind intubation compared with the air-Q in both the pillowless and head-elevated positions: 87.2% in Fastrach/pillowless vs 65.9% in air-Q/pillowless (P = .048), 90% in Fastrach/head-elevated vs 53.7% in air-Q/head-elevated (P < .001). The head-elevated position did not significantly affect the success rate of blind intubation for either device (P = .97 in Fastrach, P = .37 in air-Q). Although the head-elevated position significantly improved the POGO score from the median (10–90 percentile) 60% (0–100%) in the pillowless position to 80% (0–100%) (P = .008), it did not contribute to successful blind intubation with the air-Q.


Although the head-elevated position improved glottic visualization in the air-Q, the head position had minimal influence on the success rate of blind intubation with either the Fastrach or the air-Q.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles