(From medal.org, the largest collection of medical algorithms, Medal.org Ltd)

Human mouth (From Wikipedia).

Mallampati score - Modification of Samsoon and Young (Modified from Wikipedia).


The Mallampati score is a simple grading system evaluating the size of the base of the tongue, which is felt to be an important factor determining the degree of difficulty in direct laryngoscopy .


  1. The patient sits upright with the head in the neutral position.
  2. The patient is asked to open the mouth as widely as possible and to protrude the tongue to the maximum.
  3. The observer sits opposite at eye level and with a light source inspects the pharyngeal structures.

Original Score

Visibility of Pharyngeal Structures Class
uvula, faucial pillars, and soft palate visible I
faucial pillars and soft palate visible II
only soft palate visible III

Modification of Samsoon and Young

Visibility of Pharyngeal Structures Class
uvula, fauces, pillars, and soft palate visible I
fauces, soft palate, and uvula visible II
soft palate and base of uvula visible III
soft palate not visible IV


  • The fauces refers to the passage from the mouth to the pharynx (includes walls and lumen).


Brimacombe J, Berry A. Mallampati classification and laryngeal mask airway insertion (Correspondence). Anesthesia. 1993; 48: 347
Brimacombe JR, Berry AM. Mallampati grade and laryngeal mask placement (Letter to the Editor). Anesth Analg. 1996; 82: 1107-1113.
Cormack RS, Lehane J. Difficult tracheal intubation in obstetrics. Anaesthesia. 1984; 39: 1105-1111.
Mallampati SR, Gatt SP, et al. A clinical sign to predict difficult tracheal intubation: a prospective study. Can Anesth Soc J. 1985; 32: 429-434.
Mallampati SR. Chapter 7: Recognition of the difficult airway. pages 126-142. IN: Benumof JL (editor). Airway Management Principles and Practice. Mosby 1996.
Samsoon GLT, Young JRB. Difficult trachea intubation: a retrospective study. Anaesthesia. 1987; 42: 487-490.
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