BLS Airway Adjuncts

Airway management is second only to cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in the list of essential emergency care priorities established by the American Heart Association. Basic life-support (BLS) airway adjuncts, including the oropharyngeal airway (OPA) and the nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) are two airway adjuncts available to BLS providers when presented with an emergency situation where establishing and maintaining a patent airway using first line techniques is challenged. OPAs and NPAs are devices that should only be used as part of an overall best practice BLS airway management approach that includes other essential devices, such as a bag valve mask (BVM), Magill forceps, airway suction, and supplemental oxygen. An appropriate BLS airway management approach must take into account the provider’s defined scope of practice, as well as local and regional policies and procedures. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the appropriateness and use of various airway adjuncts as part of an overall best practice approach to BLS airway management for the professional rescuer practicing in the athletic environment.

Course Objectives:

  1. Become familiar with BLS airway adjuncts.
  2. Identify indications and contraindications of each BLS airway adjunct.
  3. Execute proper techniques when deciding to use a BLS airway adjunct.

BOC Credit Hours:  1

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