Laryngeal mask airway is associated with an increased incidence of adverse respiratory events in children with recent upper respiratory tract infections

Britta S. Von Ungern-Sternberg, Krisztina Boda, Craig Schwab, Craig Sims, Chris Johnson, Walid Habre

Research output: Article

65 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The laryngeal mask airway (LMA) has been advocated as an alternative technique to tracheal intubation for airway management of children with recent upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). The authors determined the occurrence of adverse respiratory events and identified the associated risk factors to assess the safety of LMA in children. METHODS: During a period of 5 months, parents of children scheduled to undergo general anesthesia with an LMA were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their child's medical history and potential symptoms of URI. In addition, all episodes of adverse respiratory events in the perioperative period (laryngospasm, bronchospasm, coughing, airway obstruction, and oxygen desaturation) as well as details of anesthesia management were recorded. RESULTS: Among the 831 children included in the study, 27% presented with a history of a recent URI within the last 2 weeks before anesthesia. The presence of a recent URI doubled the incidence of laryngospasm (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-5.0), coughing (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-4.3), and oxygen desaturation (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.8). This incidence was even higher in young children; in those undergoing ear, nose, and throat surgery; and when there were multiple attempts to insert the LMA. CONCLUSION: An LMA used in children with recent URIs was associated with a higher incidence of laryngospasm, cough, and oxygen desaturation compared with healthy children. However, the overall incidence of adverse respiratory events was low, suggesting that if anesthesiologists allow at least a 2-week interval after a URI, they can safely proceed with anesthesia using an LMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-719
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - nov. 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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