Blackburn MB et al. Anatomic accuracy of airway training manikins compared with humans. Anaesthesia. 2021 Mar;76(3):366-372

PMID: 32856291


Airway simulators, or training manikins, are frequently used in research studies for device development and training purposes. This study was designed to determine the anatomic accuracy of the most frequently used low-fidelity airway training manikins. Computerised tomography scans and ruler measurements were taken of the SynDaver® , Laerdal® and AirSim® manikins. These measurements were compared with human computerised tomography (CT) scans (n = 33) from patients at the University of Michigan Medical Center or previously published values. Manikin measurements were scored as a percentile among the distribution of the same measurements in the human population and 10 out of 27 manikin measurements (nine measurements each in three manikins) were outside of two standard deviations from the mean in the participants. All three manikins were visually identifiable as outliers when plotting the first two dimensions from multidimensional scaling. In particular, the airway space between the epiglottis and posterior pharyngeal wall, through which airway devices must pass, was too large in all three manikins. SynDaver, Laerdal and AirSim manikins do not have anatomically correct static dimensions in relation to humans and these inaccuracies may lead to imprecise airway device development, negatively affect training and cause over-confidence in users.