The concepts of difficult airways are frequently discussed in the field of anesthesia. Every patient that is anesthetized goes through an airway assessment to determine the potential of a difficult airway. Different tests and observations can help point to a potential difficult airway. Learn more about airway history and how to assess difficult airways.
There are multiple devices and airway adjuncts available to help the laryngoscopist obtain and secure the difficult airway. Ultimately, the selection of an airway adjunct for airway management is based on familiarity and skill with the device, as well as (1) the need for airway control; (2) the ease of laryngoscopy; (3) the ability to use supralaryngeal ventilation; (4) aspiration risk; and (5) the patient’s tolerance for apnea.
Knowing and understanding the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress, failure, and arrest is crucial. Respiratory arrest is usually the endpoint of respiratory distress that leads to respiratory failure. Respiratory distress and failure have multiple causes, all of which, if left untreated, can deteriorate into respiratory arrest. The best treatment is knowing and understanding the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress and respiratory failure so interventions can be initiated and respiratory arrest averted altogether.
Suctioning may be done through an endotracheal tube, tracheostomy tube, or through the nose or mouth into the trachea. Although each procedure is slightly different, indications, supplies, procedures and risks are similar.
Oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal airways are adjuncts that can be used to obtain/maintain an open airway. Learn about their effective use.