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Summary

This study assessed two disposable devices; the newly developed supraglottic airway device i-gel™ and the LMA-Unique™ in routine clinical practice. Eighty patients (ASA 1–3) undergoing minor routine gynaecologic surgery were randomly allocated to have an i-gel (n = 40) or LMA-Unique (n = 40) inserted. Oxygen saturation, end-tidal carbon dioxide, tidal volume and peak airway pressure were recorded, as well as time of insertion, airway leak pressure, postoperative sore-throat, dysphonia and dysphagia for each device. Time of insertion was comparable with the i-gel and LMA-Unique. There was no failure in the i-gel group and one failure in the LMA-Unique group. Ventilation and oxygenation were similar between devices. Mean airway pressure was comparable with both devices, whereas airway leak pressure was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in the i-gel group (mean 29 cmH2O, range 24–40) compared with the LMA-Unique group (mean 18 cmH2O, range 6–30). Fibreoptic score of the position of the devices was significantly better in the i-gel group. Post-operative sore-throat and dysphagia were comparable with both devices. Both devices appeared to be simple alternatives to secure the airway. Significantly higher airway leak pressure suggests that the i-gel may be advantageous in this respect.