Oropharyngeal and Nasopharyngeal Airways

Oropharyngeal airways are easy to use and available for pediatric patients of all ages. An oral airway should extend from the corner of the mouth to just cephalad to the angle of the mandible. To estimate the correct size, the airway can be placed next to the face. The oral airway should not be used in a conscious child because it may induce vomiting. The nasopharyngeal airway can be used in awake or semicomatose patients. The proper length is estimated by measuring the distance from the tip of the nose to the tragus of the ear. Complications include damage to adenoid tissue, epistaxis, and laryngospasm. Because the diameter of the nasal airways are so small in the pediatric population, they easily may become obstructed with blood, mucus, or vomitus and thus require frequent suctioning.

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