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An observational clinical study in cats and rabbits of an anatomically designed supraglottic airway device for use in companion animal veterinary anaesthesia
  1. I. R. Crotaz, BVetMed MRCVS
  1. Harmans Water Veterinary Centre, Ralphs Ride, Harmans Water, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 9LG, UK;
  1. E-mail for correspondence: icrotaz{at}talktalk.net

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In literature, there are many reports of complications following endotracheal intubation in human patients. Examples include oesophageal perforation (Ranchère and others 1992) and tracheal rupture (Austin 2010). Supraglottic airway devices (SGADs) are frequently used in human anaesthesia, and one such device, the Laryngeal Mask Airway (Intavent, Orthofix, UK), has been used in approximately 150 million anaesthetics (Cook 2003). These devices allow maintenance of anaesthesia without intubation. They have the advantage of easy insertion without the risk of laryngeal or tracheal trauma (Hashmi and others 2009). One such device (the i-gel, Intersurgical, Berkshire, UK) is constructed from a soft thermoplastic elastomer with no inflatable sections to reduce trauma risks and improve patient comfort. This device is used for routine and emergency anaesthesia for human patients. In one study, the i-gel was found to have lower failure rates and complications than other supraglottic devices (Gatward and others 2008).

Endotracheal intubation in cats is associated with an increased risk of anaesthetic-related death (Brodbelt and others 2007). Reported complications of endotracheal intubation in cats include laryngeal (Hofmeister and others 2007), or tracheal trauma, (Wong and Brock 1994, Mitchell and others 2000, Kästner and others 2004, Bhandal and Kuzma 2008), laryngeal spasm, (Brodbelt and others 2007), or lidocaine-induced tissue oedema from topical laryngeal application (Rex and others 1983). Overinflation of endotracheal tube cuffs can cause tracheal rupture (Hardie and others 1999).

Endotracheal intubation in rabbits has been shown to carry a significant risk of tracheal trauma, with the potential for tracheal mucosal necrosis and subsequent airway obstruction and death postoperatively (Phaneuf and others 2006). Iatrogenic tracheitis has been found to be a cause of late postoperative death either as a result of chemical damage from inadequate rinsing after disinfection, or direct physical trauma from the endotracheal tube bevel (Grint and others 2006). Respiratory obstruction has …

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