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Approach to the failed airway in adults outside the operating room

Authors
Ron M Walls, MD, FRCPC, FAAEM
Calvin A Brown, III, MD, FAAEM
Section Editor
Ron M Walls, MD, FRCPC, FAAEM
Deputy Editor
Jonathan Grayzel, MD, FAAEM

INTRODUCTION

A failed airway exists when there is a failure to perform gas exchange in a patient that cannot do so on their own. In this setting, clinicians must act quickly, using a deliberate approach to ensure that oxygenation is preserved, and that the airway is ultimately secured.

The approach and management of the failed airway in adults outside of the operating room is reviewed below. Other aspects of airway management, including the use of rescue devices and the performance of airway procedures, are discussed separately, including the following topics:

Adult emergency airway management: (See "Rapid sequence intubation for adults outside the operating room" and "Approach to the difficult airway in adults outside the operating room".)

Pediatric emergency airway management: (See "Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) outside of the operating room in children: Medications for sedation and paralysis" and "Emergency endotracheal intubation in children" and "The difficult pediatric airway".)

Emergency airway procedures: (See "Emergency cricothyrotomy (cricothyroidotomy)" and "Direct laryngoscopy and endotracheal intubation in adults" and "Endotracheal tube introducers (gum elastic bougie) for emergency intubation" and "Extraglottic devices for emergency airway management in adults" and "Basic airway management in adults".)

          
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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 25, 2017.
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References
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