Sore throat following three adult supraglottic airway devices: A randomised controlled trial

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Sore throat is a common complaint after surgery. It affects patient satisfaction and can affect activity after discharge. The supraglottic airway device (SAD) offers an alternative to traditional tracheal intubation with potential benefit in preventing sore throat.


The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of sore throat following three different SADs, the laryngeal mask airway Unique (LMA-U) and the more recent LMA Supreme (LMA-S) and the I-gel.


A randomised single-blind controlled three parallel-group trial.


University Hospital of Nîmes, Division of Anaesthesia Intensive Care Pain and Emergency, Nîmes, France, from April 2009 to September 2012.


A total of 546 patients scheduled to undergo elective surgery of less than 2 h under general anaesthesia were randomly allocated to receive the LMA-U, the LMA-S or the I-gel.


Anaesthesia was induced with propofol and sufentanil and maintained with propofol or with sevoflurane in air–oxygen. After airway device insertion, intra-cuff pressure was adjusted to less than 60 mmHg (LMA-U, LMA-S) and pressure-controlled ventilation initiated.


The primary study endpoint was to compare incidence of sore throat 24 h postoperatively (H+24) following placement of the LMA-U, LMA-S and the I-gel. Secondary endpoints were clinical performance (airway leak pressure, dynamic airway compliance, complications during maintenance), ease of use (device insertion time, success on first attempt, ease of insertion and removal) and other adverse events (neck or jaw pain, dysphonia, dysphagia, nausea and vomiting).


The authors analysed 177, 174 and 173 patients who received LMA-U, the LMA-S and the I-gel, respectively. The primary endpoint was assessed in 436 patients. In total, 104 patients (23.9%) patients reported a H+24 sore throat, with no difference between groups (P = 0.34). H+24 dysphagia with liquids was higher (P = 0.0065) with the LMA-S (12.1%) compared with LMA-U (5.3%) and I-gel (2.9%). Airway leak pressure (cmH2O) was lower (P < 0.0001) with LMA-U [21 (18 to 27)] compared with I-gel [26 (20 to 30)] and LMA-S [25 (21 to 30)]. Device insertion time (sec) was shorter (P < 0.0167) with the I-gel [30 (20 to 40)] compared with the LMA-U [34 (23 to 48)] and LMA-S [32 (22 to 50)].


The incidence of postoperative sore throat was not significantly different between the three SADs studied.

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