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Nasopharyngeal Airway: A Facilitated Access to the Trachea: For Nasotracheal Suction, Bedside Bronchofiberscopy, and Selective Bronchography

ADAM WANNER, M.D.; ABRAHAM ZIGHELBOIM, M.D.; and MARVIN A. SACKNER, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Adam Wanner, M.D., Mount Sinai Hospital, Miami Beach, Fla. 33140


Ann Intern Med. 1971;75(4):593-595. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-75-4-593
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The use of a soft latex nasopharyngeal airway provides reliable access to the trachea for nasotracheal suction and bronchofiberscopy. Passage of a suction catheter through the airway into the trachea was viewed by direct fiberoptic laryngoscopy in 10 subjects. Employing the technique of advancing the suction catheter slowly and only during the inspiratory phase of respiration, we found that it traversed the vocal cords in 34 of 41 trials. The nasopharyngeal airway eliminates the disadvantages of blind nasotracheal suction by guiding the suction catheter directly to the trachea and protecting the nasal and pharyngeal mucosa. Effective tracheobronchial toilet can be easily performed and intubation or tracheostomy often avoided in the care of patients with retained secretions. Finally, the nasopharyngeal airway facilitates the introduction of the bronchofiberscope under local anesthesia for bedside diagnostic and therapeutic procedures both in adults and children.

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