Ultrasound comparison of external and internal neck anatomy with the LMA Unique

Steven M. Lee1, Jacek A. Wojtczak2, Davide Cattano1

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2017; 17: 229–234
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2017.0033

Introduction: Internal neck anatomy landmarks and their relation after placement of an extraglottic airway devices have not been studied extensively by the use of ultrasound. Based on our group experience with external landmarks as well as internal landmarks evaluation with other techniques, we aimed use ultrasound to analyze the internal neck anatomy landmarks and the related changes due to the placement of the Laryngeal Mask Airway Unique. Methods: Observational pilot investigation. Non-obese adult patients with no evidence of airway anomalies, were recruited. External neck landmarks were measured based on a validated and standardized method by tape. Eight internal anatomical landmarks, reciprocal by the investigational hypothesis to the external landmarks, were also measured by ultrasound guidance. The internal landmarks were re-measured after optimal placement and inflation of the extraglottic airway devices cuff Laryngeal Mask Airway Unique. Results: Six subjects were recruited. Ultrasound measurements of hyoid-mental distance, thyroid-cricoid distance, thyroid height, and thyroid width were found to be significantly (p < 0.05) overestimated using a tape measure. Sagittal neck landmark distances such as thyroid height, sternal- mental distance, and thyroid-cricoid distance significantly decreased after placement of the Laryngeal Mask Airway Unique. Conclusion: The laryngeal mask airway Unique resulted in significant changes in internal neck anatomy. The induced changes and respective specific internal neck anatomy landmarks could help to design devices that would modify their shape accordingly to areas of greatest displacement. Also, while external neck landmark measurements overestimate their respective internal neck landmarks, as we previously reported, the concordance of each measurement and their respective conversion factor could continue to be of help in sizing extraglottic airway devices. Due to the pilot nature of the study, more investigations are warranted.

airway anatomy, ultrasound, extraglottic device