upper airway

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1. the passage by which air enters and leaves the lungs.
2. a mechanical device used for securing unobstructed respiration when the patient is not breathing or is otherwise unable to maintain a clear passage, such as during general anesthesia or respiratory arrest.
Oropharyngeal Airway. This device is inserted into the mouth to prevent the tongue from obstructing the pharynx.
Esophageal airway.
It should not be used on alert or semiconscious patients, as it invariably stimulates the gag reflex and causes vomiting or injury to the jaw unless the patient is deeply unconscious.

Selection of proper size is essential because an airway that is too short cannot lift the tongue away from the oropharynx. The airway should be gently inserted so as to avoid trauma to the mucous membranes. It must be inserted with the tip up and rotated 180 degrees when it reaches the back of the throat so that the tongue is not displaced back into the pharynx, where it will obstruct the air passage. The proper size is the distance from the earlobe to the edge of the mouth.
Esophageal Obturator Airway. This is a hollow tube inserted into the esophagus to maintain airway patency in unconscious persons and to permit positive-pressure ventilation through the face mask connected to the tube. It was designed to be used by trained pre-hospital medical personnel to establish an airway. Its use has declined because of training of pre-hospital medical personnel in the insertion of endotracheal tubes, and because studies have suggested poor performance.
Esophageal Gastric Tube Airway. This is a hollow tube with a balloon at the end, which is blindly inserted into the esophagus, obstructing the esophagus and theoretically forcing air into the trachea, thus decompressing the stomach and alleviating abdominal distention; it represents an improvement in the design of the esophageal obturator airway. Ventilation occurs in the oropharynx.
Nasopharyngeal Airway. This is a hollow tube placed through the nose into the nasopharynx to bypass upper airway obstruction or to decrease trauma from nasotracheal suctioning.
Endotracheal Tube (or Airway). This inflatable tube is inserted into the mouth or nose and passed into the trachea to provide mechanical ventilation, to provide a suction route, to prevent aspiration of stomach contents, and to bypass upper airway obstruction.
Tracheostomy. This involves a surgical incision into the trachea and insertion of a metal or plastic tube through the incision. (See also tracheostomy.)
airway clearance, ineffective a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as inability by an individual to clear secretions or obstructions from the respiratory tract to maintain a clear airway. Etiologic factors include decreased energy and fatigue; infection, obstruction, or excessive secretions in the tracheobronchial tree; perceptual/cognitive impairment associated with decreased oxygenation to brain cells; and trauma to the respiratory tract.

Defining characteristics presented by a person with ineffective airway clearance are likely to include abnormal breath sounds, alterations in respiratory rate or depth, cough (effective or ineffective and with or without sputum), cyanosis, dyspnea, and possibly fever.
Patient Care. Goals and outcome criteria for planning and interventions to prevent, minimize, or alleviate ineffective airway clearance will depend on the patient's medical diagnosis, specific nursing diagnoses, and related pathophysiology. In general, the goals are to promote the movement of air in and out of the lungs; prevent development of infection, atelectasis, and accumulations of stagnant secretions in the lungs; and encourage preventive and therapeutic pulmonary hygiene to maintain good ventilation.

Some appropriate nursing interventions to accomplish these goals might include teaching the patient effective coughing practices, assisting with postural drainage and other techniques used by the respiratory therapist to remove secetions from the respiratory tract, helping the patient to stop smoking, helping the patient identify and avoid allergens in the environment, maintaining a clean and infection-free environment, repositioning and encouraging early ambulation in post-surgical patients, and providing instruction in ways to avoid extreme fatigue in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
conducting airway the lower and upper airways together, from the nares to the terminal bronchioles.
lower airway the airway from the lower end of the larynx to the ends of the terminal bronchioles.
upper airway the airway from the nares and lips to the larynx.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

up·per air·way

the portion of the respiratory tract that extends from the nares or mouth to and including the larynx.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

up·per air·way

(ŭp'ĕr ār'wā)
The portion of the respiratory tract that extends from the nares or mouth to and including the larynx.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Upper airway obstruction (n=9, 14.3 %) and the diagnoses were: congenital laryngotracheal malformation (n=4), acquired subglottic stenosis (n=3), Hunter syndrome with upper airway obstruction (n=1), and inhalation injury with upper airway obstruction (n=1).
The post-menopausal women are also susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea due to the increased collapsibility of upper airway. The difference in the prevalence of OSA between the male and female gender may be due to the difference in the body fat distribution and hormones.
In contrast, upper airway changes associated with increasing dexmedetomidine doses (from 1 to 3 [micro]g [kg.sup.-1] [h.sup.-1]) in children were small in magnitude and not associated with clinical signs of airway obstruction (12).
The authors of this manuscript have developed a novel method for using nasal trumpets (Double Barrel Technique and Modified Double Barrel Technique) to help prevent upper airway obstruction after surgery even if the patients have had nasal surgery.
Pita, "Lingual and sublingual hematoma causing upper airway obstruction," The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol.
Maddern, "Upper airway surgery for adult obstructive sleep apnoea: what is the evidence?," ANZ Journal of Surgery, vol.
Some studies suggest that if the upper airway has a decreased anteroposterior length, which would be reflected in a lateral cephalogram, it could adapt by increasing its size transversely or longitudinally, thus preserving its total volume and functional capacity.
This paper focuses on the dynamic simulation of the upper airway model through SolidEdge and the ANSYS workbench.
Upper airway obstruction surgery 1 - Stenotic nares surgery in brachycephalic dogs.
Here we report a case of complete upper airway obstruction precipitated by subtotal parathyroidectomy with ligation of anterior jugular vein collaterals in a patient with occult CVS.