The Pioneers

Ronald Sidney Cormack 1930- John Robert Lehane 1945-

Ronnie Cormack and John Lehane have given the anaesthetist the means to grade a difficult intubation. Used in conjunction with Malampati's Score, it is an excellent indicator to anaesthetist on how difficult the intubation about to be performed is going to be.


Cormack was born in Burma in 1930 of Scottish parentage.

He worked mainly in Bristol, London and Oxford during his career. Lehane was born and educated in Merseyside and then moving to Northwick Park Hospital in the mid seventies.

It was here in 1984 that they wrote the paper on their now famous intubation Grades.321

 Their landmark contribution to clinical anesthesia soon achieved general acceptance and promoted further improvements.

Since the publication the two names have become linked like the two sides of a coin and it is difficult to mention one without mentioning the other.

Internet journal of airway management in December 2009 wrote a special piece to celebrate the 25 years of Cormack and Lehane classification.

Such is the significance of their work that it is impossible to read or write a chapter on airway management without referring to these two famous names. Lehane’s published work is amongst the most read and quoted papers in the world and Dr.Lehane with Dr.Cormack are amongst the most famous names in anaesthesia.322




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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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