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oropharyngeal airwayAbbreviation: OPA
A curved plastic device used to establish an airway in a patient by displacing the tongue from the posterior wall of the oropharynx. The device should be equal in length to the distance either from the corner of the mouth to the earlobe or from the center of the mouth to the angle of the jaw. It has a flange on the end that remains outside the mouth to keep it from being swallowed or aspirated. This device is used only in unconscious patients who do not have a gag reflex.cardiopulmonary resuscitation; illustration;
CAUTION!The head of an unconscious patient should be stabilized before the airway is inserted to reduce the likelihood of cervical spinal cord injury and paralysis.
See also: airway
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