WARNING - this is for informational purposes only. First-aid should only be attempted
by trained people to prevent causing more injury to your patient.
An open airway must be maintained through all care procedures. When a person becomes
unconscious the muscles relax and the tongue will slide back into the pharynx and obstruct
the airway. Even though a head tilt,chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver will help open the airway
of a patient the tongue may return to it's obstructive position once the maneuvere s released. Sometimes
even when the head tilt, chin lift or jaw thrust is maintained, the tongue will "fall back" into the pharynx.
Some general rules apply to the use of an oral adjunct.
Use an oral adjunt on all unconscious patients who do not have a gag reflex. The gag reflex causes
vomiting or retching when something is placed into the pharynx. When a patient is deeply unconscious
the gag refelx usually disappears but may reappear as a patient begins to regain consciousness.
open the patients airway manually before using an oral airway
when inserting the OPA take care to not push the patients tongue into the pharynx
do not continue inserting the OPA into the patients airway if he starts to gag. Continue to maintain
the airway manually and do not use an adjunct. If the patient remains inconscious for a prolonged
period of time, you may later attempt to reinsert the airway to determine if the gag reflex is present.
When an airway adjunct is used you must maintain head tilt,chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver and monitor the airway.
you must remain ready to suction the patients airway. A cut down turkey baster makes a low cost light weight suction unit.
if the patient regains consciousness or develops a gag reflex you must remove the adjunct immediately and be prepared to suction.
be sure to practice body substance isolation by wearing gloves, mask and goggles