Volume 5 Supplement 5

21st International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Open Access

A laboratory assessment of the learning and retention of skills required to use the Combitube and Laryngeal Mask Airway by non-anaesthetists

  • C Coles1,
  • C Elding1 and
  • M Mercer1
Critical Care20015(Suppl 5):P004

https://doi.org/10.1186/cc1075

Received: 15 January 2001

Published: 2 March 2001

Both the Combitube and Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) have been successfully used by non-anaesthetists during resuscitation [1,2,3,4,5]. However, only one study (using the Combitube) has assessed how well these skills are retained after the initial training period. Here, nine of 11 paramedics demonstrated inadequate skill retention in the follow-up study at 15 months [6].

Study purpose

To assess and compare the ability of non-anaesthetists to learn and retain the skills necessary to use the Combitube and Laryngeal Mask Airways.

Method

With no prior warning, 10 non-anaesthetists (3 student nurses, 2 qualified nurses and 5 trainee operating department practitioners) took part in a study morning covering theoretical aspects of Combitube and LMA insertion and use, and a practical demonstration and practice session. This was followed by a written examination of 30 yes/no questions and a practical assessment for each airway device. Eight weeks later, again with no prior warning, the same 10 people retook the same written examinations and practical assessments.

Results

The mean decrease in score between the first and second visits was -1.3 (95% confidence limits, -0.13 to -2.47; P < 0.05) for the Combitube, and -0.5 (95% confidence limits, 0.63 to -1.63; P < 0.5) for the LMA.

Conclusion

This study suggests that the practical use of the Combitube is an easier skill to acquire than the LMA. Not surprisingly retention of theoretical and practical skills for both the Combitube and LMA deteriorated over a short time span (although not reaching statistical significance for theoretical LMA scores). Therefore, whatever airway device non-anaesthetists are taught to use, regular refresher courses will be needed.

However, larger numbers need to be studied to corroborate these findings.
Table 1

Results of written examinations (means quoted)

 

First visit

Second visit

Combitube

83.3%

25/30

79%

23.7/30

LMA

91.3%

27.4/30

89.7%

26.9/30

Table 2

Results of practical assessments

 

Combitube (n = 10)

LMA (n = 10)

 

First

Second

First

Second

 

visit

visit

visit

visit

Successful insertions

10

10

10

9

Successful insertions

10

8

8

7

within 60 seconds

    

Required number of insertion attempts before success

   1

10

8

5

7

   2

 

2

4

2

   3

  

1

 

Number using correct

    

cuff volumes

10

10

10

8 (n = 9)

Number showing evidence

    

of ventilation

10

10

10

9 (n = 9)

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Anaesthesia, Frenchay Hospital

References

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Copyright

© The Author(s) 2001

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