BRIEF CLINICAL REPORT
Awake tracheal intuba-
tion through the intu-
bating laryngeal mask
Takashi Asai MD PhD,
Hideo Matsumoto MD,
Koh Shingu MD
Purpose: To report successful awake insertion of the intubating laryngeal mask (Fastrach TM) and subsequent tra-
cheal intubation through it, in a patient with predicted difficult tracheal intubation, due to limited mouth opening,
and diffcult ventilation through a facemask, due to a large mass at the corner of the mouth.
Clinical Features: A 53-yr-old woman with a large post-gangrenous mass on the right cheek to the angle of the
mouth was scheduled for its resection. The right side of her face was damaged by a bomb attack followed by can-
crum oris 50 yr ago. The distance between the incisors during maximum mouth opening was 2 cm and that
between the gums on the right side < I cm. After preoxygenation and 50/~g fentanyl and 30 mg propofol iv,
propofol was infused at 2 mg-kg -i "hr -i . Lidocaine, 8%, was sprayed on the oropharynx. A #4 intubating laryn-
geal mask was inserted with a little difficulty. A fibrescope was passed through a 7.5-mm ID RAE tracheal tube,
and the combination was easily passed through the laryngeal mask into the trachea. General ansthesia was then
induced. Finally, the intubating laryngeal mask was removed, while the RAE tube was being stabilized using an
uncuffed 6.0-ram ID tracheal tube.
Conclusion: Awake tracheal intubation through the intubating laryngeal mask is a useful technique in patients with
limited mouth opening in whom ventilation via a facemask is expected to be difficult.
Objectif : D6crire I'insertion vigile r6ussie du masque laryng6 (Fastrach TM) et I'intubation endotrach6ale sub-
s6quente au travers de ce masque chez une patiente dont rintubation s'annon~jait diffcile ~ cause d'une ouver-
ture limit& de la bouche et d'une ventilation compliqu& par masque &ant donn6 une importante masse au coin
de la bouche.
]~_J~ments diniques : Une femme de 53 ans a 6t6 admise pour la r~section d'une importante masse postgan-
grEneuse ~ la joue droite, au coin de la bouche. II y a 50 ans, elle avait subi une stomatite gangrEneuse fi la suite
d'une blessure au c6t~ droit du visage lots d'un bombardement. A l'ouverture maximale de la bouche, la distance
entre les incisives Etait de 2 cm, mais < I cm entre les gencives du c6t~ droit. Apr~s la prEoxyg~nation et l'ad-
ministration de 50/./g de fentanyl et de 30 mg de propofol iv, on a fourni une perfusion de propofol ~ 2
mg.kg -i.hr -i. On a pulv~ris~ ensuite de la lidoca'fne 8 % sur roropharynx. Un masque laryng~ n ~ 4 a ~tfi ins&~
avec un peu de diffcult& Un fibroscope a &~ plac~ dans une canule trach~ale de RAE d'un DI de 7,5 ram, puis
le tout dans le masque laryng~ qu'on a facilement introduit dans la trach~e. On a ensuite induit l'anesth&ie
g~nErale. Finalement, on a retirfi le masque laryng~ et stabilis~ le tube de RAE ~ l'aide d'un tube endotrach~al sans
ballonnet d'un DI de 6,0 mm.
Conclusion : Uemploi du masque laryng~ pour rintubation endotrach~ale vigile s'est r~v~l~e utile pour les
patients chez qui l'ouverture de !a bouche est limit& et la ventilation par masque s'annonce diffcile.
From the Department ofAnaesthesiology, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.
Address correspondence to: Takashi Asai MD PhD, Department ofAnaesthesiology, Kansai Medical University, 10-15 Fumizono-cho,
Moriguchi City, Osaka, 570-8507, Japan. Phone: 0081-6-992-1001; Fax: 0081-6-991-1301; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted for publication November 22, 1998
CAN J ANESTH 1999 / 46:2 / pp 182-184:
Asai et al.: INTUBATING LARYNGEAL MASK
a potential role in patients with difficult airways, ~-a
including those with limited mouth opexfing. 4-6 Since
the intubating laryngeal mask, a modified laryngeal
mask, has recently become available, 7 its potential use in
patients with difficult airways has also been reported. 7,s
We report the successful awake insertion of the
intubating laryngeal mask and subsequent tracheal
intubation, in a patient with predicted difficult tra-
cheal intubation (due to limited mouth opening) and
difficult ventilation tl~rough a facemask (due to a large
mass at the corner of the mouth).
WAKE tracheal intubation is indicated
when difficulty in both tracheal intubation
and ventilation through a facemask is pre-
dicted. The conventional laryngeal mask has
A 53-yr-old woman, height 146 cm, weight 52 kg, with
a large post-gangrenous mass (5 x 5 cm) on the right
cheek to the angle of the mouth, was scheduled for
resection of the mass. The tight side of her face had
been damaged by a bomb attack followed by noma
(cancrum otis) 50 yr previously. Since then she had had
difficulty in opening the mouth, she could eat only liq-
uidized food until 16 yr of age. At preoperative visit, the
right side of her face was disfigured. The distance
between upper and lower incisors during maximum
mouth opening was 2.0 cm; the tight side of the
mandible and teeth were missing and the gap between
the gums on this side was < 1 cm. Mobility of the head
and neck was normal.
Because difficulty in both tracheal intubation and
ventilation via a facemask was predicted, awake tra-
cheal intubation was considered necessary. The patient
requested that an airway not be inserted in the nose
before induction of general anesthesia. In addition,
surgeons requested orotracheal intubation because the
surgical field would include the upper lip. Therefore,
awake orotracheal intubation was planned.
On arrival ha the operating theatre, the arterial blood
pressure was 130/82 mmHg, heart rate 76 beat.min -~
and respiratory rate 12 breath-min-L After preoxygena-
tion, 50 pg fentanyl and 30 mg propofol iv were inject-
ed. Propofol was then infused at 2 mg-kg q-hr q. Within
a few minutes, the patient became sedated but was
responsive to verbal command. Lidocaine, 8%, was
sprayed on the oropharynx.
A #4 intubating laryngeal mask was inserted without
difficulty using the method described by the inventor of
the device, 7 except that the mask was rotated to the left
side when the curved part of the metal tube was passing
behind the upper teeth. The cuff was inflated and
patency of the airway was confirmed by capnography
and regular movement of the reservouir bag. During
insertion of the mask, the patient remained sedated;
there was little change in blood pressure or heart rate.
We planned to insert a 7.5-ram ID RAE tube. A
mark was made at 15 cm - which is the length of the
tube of the intubating laryngeal mask - from the dis-
tal tip of the tracheal tube (Figure). The distal 14 cm
of the tracheal tube was inserted through the laryngeal
mask. After a swivel connector with diaphragm and
the breathing system were attached, oxygen was given.
A fibreoptic bronchoscope was then inserted through
the swivel connector into the tracheal tube (Figure).
The tracheal tube was advanced by 1 cm to push for-
ward the "cpiglottic elevating bar" existing at the
aperture of the mask. Since it was easy to see the vocal
cord, both the fibrescope and tracheal tube were
inserted into the trachea without difficulty. The time
from the insertion of the fibrescope to tracheal intu-
bation was less than one minute. Arterial hemoglobin
oxygen saturation remained at 100%.
After correct tracheal intubation was conftrmed by
fibrescopy and capnography, general anesthesia was
induced. The intubating laryngeal mask was then
removed while the proximal end of the tracheal tube was
gently being pushed with the tip of an uncuffed 6.0-ram
ID tracheal tube. Operation proceeded uneventfully, and
the trachea was extubated without complications after
the patient had regained consciousness and sufficient
breathing. Postoperatively, the patient did not recall any
event during induction of anesthesia.
FIGURE Fibrescope-aided tracheal intubation through the intubat-
ing laryngeal mask airway (FastrachT~). A mark is made at 15 em
(arrow)-- the length of the tube of the intubating laryngeal mask--
from the distal tip of a 7.5 mm-ID RAE tube. The fibrescope and
the RAE tube are passed through the laryngeal mask. The mark on
the RAE tube indicates when the tube passes bcyond the %piglottic
elevating bar". By connecting the breathing systcm to the RAE tube
via a connector with diaphragm, it is possiblc to provide oxygcn
during the fibre.scope-aided trachcal intubation (The breathing sys-
tem is omitted from the photograph).
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CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ANESTHESIA
In our patient, intubating the trachea using a laryngo-
scope was predicted to be difficult because of limited
mouth opening. In addition, providing adequate posi-
tive ventilation via a facemask was expected to be diffi-
cult because of disfigurement of the right cheek and a
mass at the corner of the mouth. We inserted the intu-
bating laryngeal mask and subsequent tracheal intuba-
tion through the mask while the patient received
conscious sedation, since it is safer to secure the airway
before the patient is anesthetized if difficulty in tracheal
intubation or ventilation is predicted. 2,3 Insertion of the
mask did not cause any apparent discomfort to the
patient or marked hemodynamic changes.
The use of a fibrescope is useful for tracheal intu-
bation in patients whose tracheas are difficult to intu-
bate. 2,9 However, it may sometimes be difficult to
locate the glottis with the fibrescope. 9 In addition,
even when the fibrescope is inserted into the trachea,
it is often difficult to advance a tracheal tube over the
fibrescope. 1~ Furthermore, tracheal intubation over
the fibrescope becomes more difficult when a large-
bored tracheal tube is used} ~
The use of the conventional laryngeal mask facili-
tates the location of the glottis with the fibrescope and
markedly reduces the difficulty in advancing the tra-
cheal tube over the fibrescope into the trachea, l~ In
addition, it is possible to provide sufficient oxygen
during fibreoptic intubation, by connecting a swivel
connector with diaphragm and the breathing system
to the tracheal tube. The use of the intubating laryn-
geal mask also allows passage of an 8.0-mm ID tra-
cheal tube. 7
Awake tracheal intubation through the intubating
laryngeal mask is a useful technique in patients with
limited mouth opening in whom ventilation via a face-
mask is difficult.
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