A Guide on Airway Obstruction Prevention During Surgery

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Airway obstruction during a surgical procedure is a common case for patients under anaesthesia, sedation, or sleep. While this circumstance is deemed a fatal emergency situation, it can always be avoided with proper management, knowledge, and equipment. In this guide, we’ll guide you on how to prevent airway obstruction during surgery.

Have a disposable suction ready every surgery.

Disposable suctions can greatly help in avoiding instances of aspiration or drawing in foreign substances like food particles and fluids into the airway. These manual surgical suction devices both serve as an airway obstruction first-aid and prevention tool.

This type of surgical suction is easy to use and can hold over a litre of fluid. It usually has a one-way valve to avoid collected substances from going back to the respiratory tract. Its tube tip is also formed well that it doesn’t abrade the tissues along the airway.

As disposable suctions are good for a single use only, you can avoid contamination. Therefore, by having a disposable suction ready for use every surgery, you can avoid the likeliness of airway obstruction and infection to take place.

Be fully aware of the patient’s medical background and history.

The key to a successful surgery is full awareness of the patient’s medical background and history. Even if the surgery is not within the respiratory system, it’s highly important to get it checked, along with other body parts. This is to make sure that the procedure and medication administered are proper according to the patient’s condition.

If you miss checking the patient’s medical background, you might not know if they’re susceptible to airway obstruction because of certain conditions. They might have apparent epiglottitis or peritonsillar abscess. They might also have suffered from anaphylaxis or adverse reaction to allergens or medications (i.e. anaesthesia, sedatives) in the past.

In being aware of the patient’s past and current medical condition, you know well on what to do and can assure the patient a successful surgical procedure.

Place the patient in a position that avoids the happenstance of any airway obstruction.

The patient’s position during surgery is important to avoid airway obstruction. A common position to prevent this is by placing the patient’s head like they are ‘sniffing the morning air’. With this position, there’s an increase of longitudinal tension in the upper airway, preventing it from collapsing.

Through this life-saving guide, you can avoid emergency situations caused by airway obstruction and ensure a successful surgery.


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