1. A natural passage for air to enter and exit the lungs.
2. A device to prevent or correct an obstructed respiratory passage, esp. one inserted into the trachea and used during anesthesia or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An open airway is essential to oxygenation and ventilation. Methods for opening the airway are described in the following entries: cardiopulmonary resuscitation; chin-lift airway technique, head tilt; jaw thrust; and tracheostomy. The following subentries highlight commonly used airways in advanced cardiac life support.
SEE: jaw thrust
If a patient has a mechanism of injury involving potential trauma to the clavicles or above, the airway should be opened only with the jaw thrust maneuver.
A trademark for a dual-lumen airway consisting of a tracheal tube linked to an esophageal tube. It may be inserted blindly into the oropharynx as an airway control device when an endotracheal tube is not available or when tracheal intubation with direct visualization of the vocal cords is difficult or challenging.
1. Any portion of the respiratory tract, extending from the inner tip of the nose to the terminal bronchioles, that channels air in and out of the lungs but does not directly participate in the exchange of gases.
2. An artificial airway.
An airway that is challenging or impossible to intubate. Intubation is increasingly difficult in: older patients, patients with head or neck trauma, obese patients, and patients with craniofacial abnormalities.
ABBR: EGTA SEE: Esophageal obturator airway.
ABBR: EOA An airway device, formerly used in emergency medical service (EMS) systems, consisting of an esophageal tube with a 37-cm long tube attached to a mask. To be effective, the device requires an airtight mask seal on the patient’s face. A balloon at the distal end of the tube is inflated following blind insertion into the esophagus. The device reduces the likelihood of regurgitation and aspiration of stomach contents and indirectly ventilates the lungs.
Most emergency service agencies have replaced this device by more-advanced airway devices.
SYN: SEE: esophageal gastric tube airway
ABBR: LMA An airway that can be blindly inserted into the hypopharynx when advanced airway control is needed during procedures that require brief anesthesia. It consists of a flexible airway tube with a proximal cuff, which holds the middle of the tube in place at the base of the tongue, and a distal cuff to fix the end of the tube in the trachea.
It should not be used in patients at high risk of aspiration.
SYN: SEE: laryngeal tracheal airway
ABBR: LTA SEE: Laryngeal mask airway.
ABBR: NPA A soft, flexible, uncuffed tube placed through the nasal passages so that the distal tip rests in the nasopharynx. It is used to maintain the free passage of air to and from the lungs in patients with facial trauma or lockjaw or in nearly comatose patients who are breathing spontaneously. Before the tube is inserted, the proper length is determined by comparing it to the distance from the tip of the patient's nose to the earlobe. The diameter should match that of the patient's pinkie. Nasopharyngeal airways are often used by respiratory therapists to reduce the trauma from repetitive nasotracheal suctioning.
SYN: SEE: nasal trumpet
NASOPHARYNGEAL AIRWAY A nasopharyngeal airway in proper position
Bleeding from the nasopharynx may occur during emergency placement of this airway.
ABBR: OPA A curved plastic device used to establish an airway in a patient by displacing the tongue from the posterior wall of the oropharynx. The device should be equal in length to the distance from either the corner of the mouth to the earlobe or the center of the mouth to the angle of the jaw. It has a flange on the end that remains outside the mouth to keep it from being swallowed or aspirated. This device is used only in unconscious patients who do not have a gag reflex.SEE: cardiopulmonary resuscitation;
OROPHARYNGEAL AIRWAY An oropharyngeal airway in place
The cervical spine of an unconscious patient should be stabilized before the airway is inserted to reduce the likelihood of spinal cord injury and paralysis.
A device used as an alternative to tracheal intubation in the ventilation of the critically ill patient. It contains both an esophageal and a tracheal lumen and may be inserted without visualization of the vocal cords.
SYN: SEE: supraglottic airway
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