The i-gel is an innovative second-generation supraglottic airway with a soft, gel-like, non-inflatable cuff. The i-gel is designed to create a non-inflatable anatomical seal of the pharyngeal, laryngeal and peri-laryngeal structures. It incorporates a gastric channel to provide an early warning of regurgitation, facilitate venting of gas from the stomach and to allow for the passing of a suction tube to empty the stomach contents.
A bite block and epiglottic rest are also integrated into the device. The large diameter cylindrical airway tube is contained within a buccal cavity stabiliser, which is anatomically widened and concaved to eliminate the potential for rotation and provide vertical strength for insertion.
Initially, i-gel was only indicated for use in routine and emergency anaesthesia. However, the indications for use were extended to include resuscitation following publication of studies reporting easy and rapid insertion , high seal pressures, minimal training period to enable safe use and insertion by non-anaesthetists; and extended further in 2011 to include use as a conduit for intubation with fibre optic guidance.
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