Simple method to determine the size of the laryngeal mask airway in children

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SummaryBackground and objective:The size of the laryngeal mask airway in children is determined by the patient's weight. However, in some instances an alternative method may be wanted. The aim was to search for a new method that would be easy to perform at the bedside.Methods:The size of the laryngeal mask airway was determined in 183 children by choosing the laryngeal mask that best matched the combined widths of the patient's index, middle and ring fingers. The results were compared with the standard method recommended by the manufacturer's weight-related guidelines. The patients were classified in different groups depending on the laryngeal mask airway sizes determined by both methods. A kappa coefficient evaluated the agreement between both techniques.Results:The kappa coefficient was 0.81, showing an 'excellent agreement' between both methods. The size was the same for both methods in 142 children (78%). The disagreement between both techniques was only of one size in the remaining 41 patients (22%). In such patients, the weight was a borderline value that would indicate a change in the size of the laryngeal mask airway using the classic method.Conclusions:This new approach is of valid and practical use in children, particularly as an alternative in those situations where the patient's weight is unknown, such as in emergency situations or in those borderline instances where an alternative measurement would be useful.

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