Supraglottic Airway Versus Endotracheal Tube During Interventional Pulmonary Procedures

A Retrospective Study

Kyle M. Behrens; Richard E. Galgon


BMC Anesthesiol. 2019;19(196) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: As the field of interventional pulmonology (IP) expands, anesthesia services are increasingly being utilized when complex procedures of longer duration are performed on sicker patients with high risk co-morbidities and lung pathology. Yet, evidence on the optimal anesthetic management for these patients remains lacking. Our aim was to characterize the airway management and, secondarily anesthetic maintenance patterns used for IP procedures at our institution.

Methods: From 2894 identified encounters, charts of 783 patients undergoing an IP procedure with general anesthesia over a 5-year period, employing an endotracheal tube (ETT) or a supraglottic airway (SGA) for airway maintenance, were identified and reviewed after exclusions. Patients posted for a concurrent thoracic surgical procedure and those already intubated at presentation were excluded. Baseline patient demographics, procedure, proceduralist type, anesthesia maintenance modality, neuromuscular blocking drug (NMBD) use, and airway management characteristics were extracted and analyzed.

Results: Inhaled general anesthesia with an ETT for airway maintenance was most commonly employed; however, SGAs were used in one-third of patients with a very low conversion rate (0.4%), and their use was associated with a significant reduction in NMBD use.

Conclusions: In this large series of patients receiving general anesthesia for IP procedures, inhaled anesthetic agents and ETTs were favored. However, in appropriately selected patients, SGA use was effective for airway maintenance and allowed for a reduction in NMBD use, which may have implications in this patient population who may have an increased risk for pulmonary complications and warrants further investigation.