The aim of the airway device is to prevent the tongue fail. The tip of airway gets inserted between tongue and posterior pharyngeal wall and thus prevents the tongue failing back on posterior pharyngeal wall.
The various usages of the airway device are:
- As an alternative to intubation where difficult intubation is anticipated.
- Securing airway in emergency where intubation and mask ventilation is not possible.
- As an elective method for minor surgeries where anesthetist wants to avoid intubation.
- As a conduit for bronchoscopes, small size tubes, gum elastic bougies.
Most commonly used type is the Guedel airway device. The Guedels airway helps in securing an airway during emergencies, where skilled personnel for carrying out intubations are not available.
Other commonly available is Water’s airway. The Water’s airway is metallic and reusable after sterilization.
Nasal airway device is also available which is inserted through nostril. The nasal airways are better tolerated, as the nose is the normal conduit for air during respiration.
Length of airway chosen (oral) is distance between tip of nose and tragus plus 1 cm.
Other type of airways: Safar and Brook airway device, which can be used not only for preventing tongue fall but also for mouth to airway resuscitation.