Emerg Med J 27:860-863 doi:10.1136/emj.2009.084343
  • Prehospital care

Assessment of the speed and ease of insertion of three supraglottic airway devices by paramedics: a manikin study

  1. David Reeves2
  1. 1EMS, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, NPCRDC, University of Manchester, UK
  3. 3Dept EMC & R, Durban University of Technology, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Nick Castle, Department of EMC & R, Durban University of Technology, South African and Emergency Department, Frimley Park Hospital, Portsmouth Road, Camberley, Surrey, UK; Nicholas.castle{at}
  1. Contributors This is a joint project, all authors contributed appropriately to the article.

  • Accepted 16 December 2009
  • Published Online First 1 June 2010


Background Control of the airway is a priority during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and/or following a failed intubation attempt. Supraglottic airway devices provide more effective airway management than bag-valve-mask-ventilation (BVMV) and can be effectively used by non-anaesthetists.

Methods 36 paramedic students were timed to ascertain how long it took them to place an Igel, laryngeal mask airway (LMA) or laryngeal tube airway (LTA) into a manikin. Following insertion, students were interviewed to see which device they preferred and why.

Results The Igel was consistently the fastest airway device, taking a mean of 12.3 s (95% CI 11.5 to 13.1) to insert, the LTA took a mean time of 22.4 s (95% CI 20.3 to 24.5) and the LMA 33.8 s (95% CI 30.9 to 36.7). 63% of students would choose the Igel as their preferred intermediate airway device, stating ease of use and speed of insertion as the primary reasons.

Conclusion The ease and speed at which a supraglottic airway can be inserted means that it is a viable alternative to the use of the BVMV.


  • Funding The Igel and the LTAs were provided free of charge by the prospective suppliers. The LMAs were training stock.

  • Competing interests The Igel was provided free of charge by Intersurgical (UK), and the LTA by VBM Medizintechnic GmbH (Germany). Neither company had any editorial input nor have they received results of the trial ahead of publication.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Durban University of Technology, Durban Rep South Africa. Via the faculty of health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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