EMT: Airway Adjuncts

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Posted on 3rd June 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

There are two airway devices that can be used to help open and maintain the airway for patients that are unable to control their airway. These devices can be used by emergency medical technicians out in the field. The oropharyngeal airway is a curved piece of plastic that is inserted into the patient’s mouth. This device is used to lift the tongue out of the oropharynx. This device is also called the oral airway or OP airway. This device should be used whenever a patient is unresponsive and has no gag reflex. The gag reflex will cause the patient to retch if the back of the throat is stimulated. Because inserting the oral airway will trigger the gag reflex, it is not intended to be used unless the patient has no gag reflex. If this device is used on a conscious patient it is very likely that the patient will gag or vomit, which can cause additional problems to the airway. The nasopharyngeal airway is a rubber or plastic tube that is inserted into the patient’s nostril. This flexible tube helps air to pass through the nasopharyngeal passage. This device is commonly caused a nasal airway or NP airway. This airway device dose not usually cause vomiting and is a better choice for patients who are responsive. If a patient is actively seizing, the nasal airway is often the easiest airway to use. When inserting the nasal airway it is important that the device is not forced in. If there is resistance the airway should be removed and relubricated before trying the other nostril. This device can be uncomfortable and painful for patients. The airway should be monitored for mucus, blood or vomit that can clog the tubing. If clogging occurs the airway should be suctioned.

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