A mannequin study comparing suitability of the i-gelTM with a laryngeal mask airway device

Objectives: To compare the suitability of the i-gelTM (Intersurgical Ltd, UK) supraglottic airway device with a single-use laryngeal mask airway (LMA) in the hazardous area response team (HART) environment and the urban search and rescue (USAR) environment. Method: five chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear trained urban search and rescue paramedics attempted five insertions of each supraglottic airway device into a Laerdal® ALS mannequin (Laerdal, Norway) in three separate environments: normal (supine, waist high), HART (wearing gas-tight suits and respirators) and USAR (in a simulated confined space). As a control group, five anaesthetists also attempted five insertions of each supraglottic airway device into a Laerdal® Airway Trainer (Laerdal, Norway) under normal conditions. Time from first touching the device to successful inflation of the mannequin's lungs’ using a self-inflating bag-valve device was recorded and operator opinion was captured using a four-point Likert scale. Results: insertion of the i-gel airway was significantly faster than insertion of the LMA in simulated USAR conditions (P<0.001), there was no significant difference in control conditions or when wearing gas-tight personal protective equipment. There was no difference in the number of attempts required to achieve correct placement of either supraglottic airway device in any situation. Conclusions: this study has demonstrated that, in simulated USAR conditions, the i-gel supraglottic airway device performs at least as well as the LMA and is significantly quicker to insert. The authors therefore recommend that the i-gel is introduced into the USAR HART environment with further clinical evaluation in this and other prehospital settings.

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