High pressures exerted by balloons and cuffs of conventional endotracheal tubes, the Combitube® (Tyco Healthcare Nellcor Mallinckrodt, Pleasanton, CA), the EasyTube® (Teleflex Ruesch, Kernen, Germany), the Laryngeal Mask Airway ™ (LMA North America, San Diego, CA), the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway ™ (Fastrach®; LMA North America), the ProSeal ™ (LMA North America), and the Laryngeal Tube (LT; VBM Medizintechnik, Sulz, Germany) may traumatize the pharyngeal mucosa. The aim of this study was to compare pressures exerted on the pharyngeal, tracheal, and esophageal mucosa by different devices designed for securing the patient’s airways.Methods:
Nineteen fresh cadavers were included. To measure mucosal pressures, microchip sensors were fixed on the anterior, lateral, and posterior surfaces of the proximal balloon and the distal cuff of the investigated devices. Depending on the respective airway device, the cuff volume was increased in 10-ml increments at the proximal balloon starting from 0 to a maximum of 100 ml, and in 2-ml increments at the distal cuff starting from 0 up to 12 ml.Results:
Tracheal mucosal pressures were significantly higher using the Combitube® compared with the endotracheal tube and the EasyTube®. Maximal esophageal pressures were significantly higher using the EasyTube® compared with the Combitube®. Using cuff volumes according to the manufacturers’ guidelines, we found the highest pharyngeal pressures with the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway ™ versus all other devices. At maximal volumes, the Laryngeal Mask Airway ™, the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway ™, and the ProSeal ™ induced significantly higher pharyngeal pressures compared with all other devices. Using a pharyngeal cuff volume of 40 ml, the Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway ™ followed by the Laryngeal Mask Airway ™ exerted significantly higher pressures compared with the other devices.Conclusions:
Although some devices exhibit a somewhat higher mucosal pressure when compared with others, the authors believe that the observed differences of the cuff pressures do not suggest a clinically relevant danger, because the investigated devices, except the endotracheal tubes, are not intended for prolonged use.