The laryngeal mask airway (LMA) provides a safe and effective method of securing an airway in anesthesia and critical care settings. Although the classic LMA provides an airtight seal over the glottic opening to provide effective gas exchange, several modifications, additions, and variations have been developed and are currently in use. In particular, the Fastrach LMA, through which an endotracheal tube can be introduced, provides an alternative method for intubation in a difficult airway patient. LMAs can also be life-saving in facilitating a temporary airway in the field or for interhospital transport. Additionally, LMAs can be used during bronchoscopies and various airway procedures, such as percutaneous dilatational tracheostomies. Although the LMA has gained popularity owing to its ease of learning and usage, potential risks and complications exist. Therefore, thorough knowledge of its properties and indications for use is essential.
*Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
†Department of Anesthesiology, New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY
There is no conflict of interest.
Reprints: Arthur Sung, MD, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, New York Methodist Hospital, 506 sixth street, Brooklyn, NY 11215-9008 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received for publication April 30, 2007; accepted May 14, 2007