The Mallampati Score is a grading system based on the visualisation of the pharyngeal structures during laryngoscopy.

A study of 210 patients confirmed the degree of difficulty in seeing three pharyngeal structures (uvula, soft palate and faucial pillars) as an accurate predictor of difficulty when using direct laryngoscopy.

If the base of the tongue is disproportionately large relative to the capacity of the oropharynx, it would obscure the view of the faucial pillars, posterior part of the uvula and eventually the soft palate in that order. It would also render the angle to the trachea more acute and obscure the larynx – this anatomical relation was hypothesised by Mallampati and verified with his study published in 1985

Mallampati Score
Mallampati Score

1975 – Mallampati encountered a difficult tracheal intubation during a caesarean section. No harm came to the mother or the baby as a result but it was this event that led Mallampati down his route of inquiry into predicting difficult intubation which culminated in the development of the Mallampati score.

1983 – Letter to the editor in Canadian Anaesthetists’ Society Journal hypothesizing that preoperative airway assessment should be able to predict difficult intubation. The chief editor, Douglas Craig, wrote back to suggest he continued his work with a prospective study.

1985 – Published the Mallampati scoring system [Mallampati SR et al, 1985]

1987 – Dr. Samson and Dr. Young Publish a new article to the Journal of Anaesthesia adding a 4th class tot he Mallampati score

Associated Persons

eponymictionary CTA


the names behind the name

Resident Medical Officer currently working in Emergency Department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Pianist and avid Golfer  | LinkedIn |

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.