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November 2, 2009

Intersurgical showcases supraglottic airway device

By Jamie Thompson
EMS1 Senior Editor

ATLANTA — An innovative supraglottic airway newly marketed to EMS was among the products on display at EMS Expo in Atlanta.

I-gel is made from a medical grade thermoplastic elastomer, designed to create a non-inflating, anatomical seal of the pharyngeal, laryngeal and perilaryngeal structures while avoiding compression trauma.

Manufacturer Intersurgical, which designs respiratory care products for use in anesthesia, intensive care and airway management, launched the product about two years ago, but only began marketing it to pre-hospital providers this summer.

Avery Baldwin, North American product manager at Intersurgical, said initial instructions for use referred to securing and maintaining a patent airway in routine and emergency anesthetics of fasted patients.

"We could have launched to all markets — including pre-hospital — from the very beginning, but we wanted to wait until we had clinical data available to support its use in establishing a patent airway during resuscitation of the unconscious patient in the pre-hospital setting, which we now have," he said.

Baldwin said the soft, gel-like material used in i-gel allows for ease of insertion and reduced trauma, while the gastric channel is designed to improve and enhance patient safety and guards against aspiration. "It also has an integral bite-block, which helps reduce the possibility of airway channel occlusion," he said.

Reaction to the product from attendees at EMS Expo was positive, according to Baldwin. "I think its ease of use, especially for pre-hospital providers, is an important advantage," he said.