The Macintosh laryngoscope has a curved blade which allows exposure of the larynx by positioning the tip in the vallecula, anterior to the epiglottis, lifting it out of view.
The Macintosh Laryngoscope was invented in 1941, by Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh, an eminent New Zealand Anaesthetist, and developed by Richard Salt, Macintosh’ assistant in London.
Prior to 1943, the standard laryngoscope blades were straight and were designed to pass beyond the epiglottis, like the modern Miller blade.
During a tonsillectomy, a surgeon inserted a larger than intended Boyle-Davis gag, which allowed full view of the vocal cords when the mouth was opened. Macintosh subsequently reasoned that it was the relationship between the epiglottis and the blade that was important in conducting effective laryngoscopy.
Salt was a highly skilled technician who quickly converted a concept into a mechanical form. On the same day, Salt modified the blade of a Boyle-Davis gag and attached a laryngoscope handle to it. After streamlining, the blade was manufactured by Medical and Industrial Equipment Ltd and has since become one of the most widely used laryngoscope blades in use today.
- Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh (1897–1989)
- The Mac blade
- Although his name is not recognised in the Macintosh laryngoscope, Richard Salt, was instrumental in the creation of the blade.
- Macintosh RR. A new laryngoscope. Lancet 1943;241(6233):205
- Macintosh RR. Laryngoscope blades. Lancet 1944;243(6293):485
- Jephcott A. The Macintosh laryngoscope. A historical note on its clinical and commercial development. Anaesthesia 1984;39:474-479 [PMID 6375446]