Guedel oropharyngeal airway: The validation of facial landmark-distances to estimate sizing in children – Visualisation by magnetic resonance imaging (GUEDEL-I): A prospective observational study



      To validate the ERC-recommended facial landmark-distance for oropharyngeal airway sizing in children.


      We conducted a prospective observational study in anaesthetised, spontaneously breathing children ≤12 years undergoing cranial MRI. Oropharyngeal airways were inserted following the distance from the maxillary incisors to the mandibular angle. Primary outcome was the rate of properly sized oropharyngeal airways on MRI, defined as the distal end positioned within 10 mm from the epiglottis without contacting it. Secondary outcomes were the occurrence of tongue protrusion, oropharyngeal airways clinical efficacy, and related adverse events. Furthermore, we calculated probabilities for the estimation of proper size when considering five facial landmark-distances and optimal rules based on biometric parameters.


      In 94 children with a mean (SD) age of 4.7 (±3) years, 47.9% [95%-CI 38%-57.9%] oropharyngeal airways were properly sized, while 23.4% [95%-CI 15.9%–33%] were undersized, and 28.7% [95%-CI 20.5%-38.7%] oversized. Tongue protrusion occurred in 59.1% [95%-CI 38.2%-77.2%] of undersized and 15.6% [95%-CI 7.6%-29.2%] of properly sized oropharyngeal airways. No oropharyngeal airway required replacement. Comparing probabilities for five landmark-distances, “maxillary incisors to the angle of the mandible” proved superior for proper sizing at 41.2% [95%-CI 32%-51.7%]. The best-fit formula was “22.43 + 17.54 × log(weight[kg])” with a probability of 61.7% [95%-CI 51.5%-70.9%].


      Although the facial landmark-distance “maxillary incisors to the angle of the mandible” does not reliably predict oropharyngeal airway size, no clinical problems have been encountered. Since it can be considered the least inaccurate facial landmark-distance, it can serve as an approximation, but the efficacy of oropharyngeal airways should be evaluated clinically.
      Registered clinical trial: German Clinical Trials Register; DRKS00025918.



      ERC (European Resuscitation Council), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), OPA (oropharyngeal airway)
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