Background: Although predictors of laryngeal mask airway failure in adults have been elucidated, there remains a paucity of data regarding laryngeal mask airway failure in children.
Methods: The authors performed a retrospective database review of all pediatric patients who received a laryngeal mask anesthetic at their institution from 2006 to 2010. Device brands were restricted to LMA Unique™ (Cardinal Health, Dublin, OH) and LMA Classic™ (LMA North America, San Diego, CA), and primary outcome was laryngeal mask failure, defined as any airway event requiring device removal and tracheal intubation. Potential risk factors were analyzed with both univariate and multivariate techniques and included medical history, physical examination, surgical, and anesthetic characteristics.
Results: Of the 11,910 anesthesia cases performed in the study, 102 cases (0.86%) experienced laryngeal mask failure. Common presenting features of laryngeal mask failures included leak (25%), obstruction (48%), and patient intolerance such as intractable coughing/bucking (11%). Failures occurred before incision in 57% of cases and after incision in 43%. Independent clinical associations included ear/nose/throat surgical procedure, nonoutpatient admission status, prolonged surgical duration, congenital/acquired airway abnormality, and patient transport.
Conclusions: The findings of the study support the use of the LMA Unique™ and LMA Classic™ as reliable pediatric supraglottic airway devices, demonstrating relatively low failure rates. Predictors of laryngeal mask airway failure in the pediatric surgical population do not overlap with those in the adult population and should therefore be independently considered.