Airway management continues to be a challenge as more patients are deemed high risk. In an effort to make airway management easier, Teleflex released its LMA Protector Airway at ANESTHESIOLOGY 2015, which is a single-use laryngeal mask, featuring a dual gastric drainage channel and pharyngeal chamber.
To learn more about the device design, Surgical Products connected with Justin McMurray, president of the Teleflex Anesthesia Division.
What factors contributed to the development of this device?
Our primary focus in developing the LMA Protector Airway was to reduce the frequency and severity of complications related to airway management. Although major complications are rare, they can be among the most life-threatening in medicine.1
The Royal College of Anaesthetists fourth National Audit Project (NAP4) found that more than 50 percent of airway-related deaths in anesthesia in the UK were as a consequence of aspiration. It also recommended that all hospitals have supraglottic airway devices with gastric access available for both routine and rescue airway management.2 In addition, numerous scientific papers have highlighted the need to monitor and control cuff pressures in laryngeal masks to reduce the risks of patient trauma and airway leakage.3
Such considerations were factors in our decision to include two of the most notable features in our new device – a dual gastric channel and an integrated cuff pressure monitoring system. Both can help protect the airway from gastric content, which could cause aspiration problems.
What features make it unique in the industry?
The LMA Protector Airway is the world’s first single-use laryngeal mask with a dual gastric drainage channel and pharyngeal chamber, both of which help keep gastric contents away from the airway in the unlikely event of regurgitation. It also combines the most advanced airway management innovations from Teleflex for patient care and safety in one easy-to-use device.
For example, the new device features Cuff Pilot Technology, a cuff pressure indicator that enables clinicians to confirm that the inserted cuff is properly inflated and to monitor its pressure levels. The continuous control of intracuff pressure through in-line (or integrated) cuff pressure monitoring has been clinically shown to reduce the risk of patient trauma or leaks.4
The LMA Protector Airway is designed for easy, rapid insertion and a secure fit, even in difficult airway situations. Its Second Seal Technology isolates the respiratory tract from the digestive tract and reduces the risk of aspiration of gastric contents. It also allows for intubation with ETTs up to 7.5 mm to provide a safe and effective option for airway replacement.
How does this help an anesthesiologist manage the patient’s airway?
The unique combination of capabilities of the LMA Protector Airway give anesthesiologists safeguards, information and options that can help them protect the patient from complications. The dual drainage channels offer easy access as needed for evacuation of gastric content through the upper esophageal sphincter or stomach. Cuff pressure monitoring provides reliable information that can help anesthesiologists keep the cuff properly inflated throughout the procedure. These functions, along with others such as the Second Seal™ Technology, could enable anesthesiologists to use the LMA Protector Airway with confidence for more difficult cases where an ETT may otherwise be used.
What do you think the next innovations in airway management are going to be?
The innovations will come from finding better ways to address the challenges anesthesiologists face each day, whether these are related to aspiration risks, airway trauma, or difficult access. Advances in technology could also play an increasing role in airway management.
24th National Audit Project of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Difficult Airway Society: Major Complications of Airway Management in the United Kingdom. Report and findings: March 2011. Editors: Dr. Tim Cook, Dr. Nick Woodall and Dr. Chris Frerk.
3Bick E, Bailes I, Patel A, Brain AIJ. Fewer sore throats and a better seal: why routine manometry for laryngeal mask airways must become the standard of care. Anaesthesia 2014;69:1299–1313.
4Wong JG, Heaney M, Chambers NA et al. Impact of laryngeal mask airway cuff pressures on the incidence of sore throat in children. Paediatr Anaesth 2009;19(5):464–469.
This article originally appeared in Surgical Products.