Use of intubation introducers through a supraglottic airway to facilitate tracheal intubation: a brief review
This article is a narrative review regarding the usage and effectiveness of introducers or catheters to facilitate tracheal intubation through a supraglottic airway (SGA) as an alternative intubation technique in normal and difficult airway management.
Relevant articles were obtained through Medline (1948-July 2011). The articles were subsequently cross-referenced for additional literature, and only articles published in English were included.
In this review, we consider 32 reports using the LMA Classic™, LMA Unique™, LMA ProSeal™, LMA Supreme™, AuraOnce™, and i-gel™ as SGA conduits for intubation. In 13 articles, the use of an Aintree Intubation Catheter was described as an intubation introducer and resulted in high success rates in both elective and emergent situations. Eight studies used a guidewire exchange catheter technique. Although blind intubation using a guidewire resulted in a high failure rate, these studies found that using a bronchoscope improved successful intubation. Ten studies showed that insertion of a gum elastic bougie with a bronchoscope as an intubation introducer has high success rates compared with blind bougie insertion. One article described the use of a small endotracheal tube as an intermediary for tracheal intubation.
In failed intubation scenarios, supraglottic airways, such as the LMA Classic™ or LMA ProSeal™ can serve as a conduit for tracheal intubation. A number of techniques using introducers or catheters can facilitate the insertion of an adequately sized endotracheal tube, particularly guided by a bronchoscope. Usage of introducers or catheters through a supraglottic airway may be a useful alternative intubation technique in difficult airway management.