Postoperative sore throat: a systematic review

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Postoperative sore throat has a reported incidence of up to 62% following general anaesthesia. In adults undergoing tracheal intubation, female sex, younger age, pre-existing lung disease, prolonged duration of anaesthesia and the presence of a blood-stained tracheal tube on extubation are associated with the greatest risk. Tracheal intubation without neuromuscular blockade, use of double-lumen tubes, as well as high tracheal tube cuff pressures may also increase the risk of postoperative sore throat. The expertise of the anaesthetist performing tracheal intubation appears to have no influence on the incidence in adults, although it may in children. In adults, the i-gel™ supraglottic airway device results in a lower incidence of postoperative sore throat. Cuffed supraglottic airway devices should be inflated sufficiently to obtain an adequate seal and intracuff pressure should be monitored. Children with respiratory tract disease are at increased risk. The use of supraglottic airway devices, oral, rather than nasal, tracheal intubation and cuffed, rather than uncuffed, tracheal tubes have benefit in reducing the incidence of postoperative sore throat in children. Limiting both tracheal tube and supraglottic airway device cuff pressure may also reduce the incidence.

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