The laryngeal mask airway as an aid to training in fibreoptic nasotracheal endoscopy

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We have investigated the extent to which the laryngeal mask airway, when used as an aid to fibreoptic nasotracheal video-endoscopy training, could reduce endoscopy apnoeic time in anaesthetised, paralysed oral surgery patients. Twenty anaesthetic trainees were randomly allocated to the laryngeal mask airway or control group. Laryngeal mask airway group endoscopies were performed in three stages following insertion of the laryngeal mask airway: stage 1: nasendoscopy, with the lungs ventilated automatically through the laryngeal mask airway; stage 2: removal of the laryngeal mask airway; stage 3: pharyngoscopy, larygoscopy and tracheoscopy. Control group endoscopies were performed conventionally, in one stage. Each trainee performed five nasotracheal intubations. Though total endoscopy time in the laryngeal mask airway group (stage 1 + stage 2 + stage 3 times) was significantly longer (average 136 s vs. 108 s), apnoeic time (stage 2 + stage 3 times) was significantly shorter (average 59 s vs. 108 s) than endoscopy time in the control group. This application of the laryngeal mask airway may have a useful role to play in ensuring patient safety during early fibreoptic training.

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