Seshagiri Rao Mallampati (born 1941) is an Indian-born American anesthesiologist. He is best known for proposing the eponymous Mallampati score in 1985, a non-invasive method to assess the ease of endotracheal intubation.
Mallampati was born in the state of Andhra Pradesh, British India in 1941. In 1968, he studied medicine at Andhra Medical College, the oldest such college in the state. In 1971, he emigrated to the United States and began his training in anesthesiology at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1983, Mallampati published a letter describing a difficult intubation in a female patient whose mouth could open widely but whose tongue obstructed view of the faucial pillars and uvula. He hypothesised that the size of the tongue was a significant factor in predicting difficult laryngoscope usage since a large tongue would likely cram the oropharynx. In 1985, alongside his colleagues, he published a paper in the Journal of the Canadian Anesthesia Society that involved 210 patients and studied the correlation between decreased visualisation of the soft palate, faucial pillars and uvula, and its association with the difficulty of intubation. The study showed an inverse correlation and Mallampati proposed an eponymous classification to determine the ease of intubation.
He later worked at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the remainder of his career. In 2017, he retired from medical practice.
- Mallampati SR. Clinical sign to predict difficult tracheal intubation (hypothesis). Can Anaesth Soc J. 1983 May;30(3 Pt 1):316-7. [PMID 6336553]
- Mallampati SR, Gatt SP, Gugino LD, Desai SP, Waraksa B, Freiberger D, Liu PL. A clinical sign to predict difficult tracheal intubation: a prospective study. Can Anaesth Soc J. 1985 Jul;32(4):429-34. [PMID 4027773]