A comparison of postoperative sore throat after use of laryngeal mask airway and tracheal tube
UNLABELLED The purpose of the study was to compare the ease of insertion of the laryngeal mask airway using the standard uninflated approach or with a fully inflated cuff. Two hundred consecutive patients undergoing anesthesia using a laryngeal mask airway were randomized to have the laryngeal mask inserted using either method. Successful insertion was judged primarily by the clinical function of the airway. The number of insertion attempts to achieve a satisfactory airway and whether an alternative technique was required for success were recorded. On removal of the laryngeal mask, a blind observer noted the presence or absence of blood. Just before leaving the recovery room, each patient was asked whether they had a sore throat. Insertion technique made no difference with regard to first attempt success. However, the presence of blood on the removed masks (P < 0.01) and sore throat (P < 0.01) were less frequent in the inflated cuff group. We conclude that the inflated cuff insertion technique is an acceptable alternative to the standard approach and has the advantage of reducing the incidence of minor pharyngeal mucosal trauma, as evidenced by mucosal bleeding and sore throat. IMPLICATIONS Insertion of the laryngeal mask airway with the cuff fully inflated is equally successful to the standard uninflated approach in experienced hands. The inflated technique was associated with less minor pharyngeal mucosal trauma and, consequently, a lower incidence of postoperative sore throat. This implies that the inflated technique would be acceptable to the general population of laryngeal mask users.