Airway Management Procedural Overview

These procedures have been developed by the medical staff to reflect standing orders for care of athlete’s experiencing signs and symptoms of an airway complication.  This protocol is a summary drawn from the team’s comprehensive emergency action plan, and is intended to summarize the medical team’s preparation for and initial response to the identified condition.  This protocol summary is intended to serve only as a guideline.  The following procedures are not intended to substitute for prudent autonomous medical decision-making required during actual care and management of a sick or injured individual.  Please see the comprehensive emergency action plan for a formal write-up and reference material.


Emergency Management Checklist
BLS Airway Management Supplies ALS Airway Management Considerations Difficult Airway Considerations
  • AED
  • BVM ventilator
  • Seal Quick™ resuscitator mask
  • Magill forcepts
  • Manual suction device
  • Oxygen
  • Non-rebreather mask
  • Heart rate / blood pressure monitor
  • Pulse-oximeter
  • Defibrillator/monitor
  • ECG
  • SGD
  • Laryngoscope
  • ET
  • Stylette
  • Mechanical suction device
  • Airway tube securing device
  • etCO2 monitor
  • ACLS medications
  • If RSI is available, use the medical time out to discuss who will call for RSI, and who will draw and push medications.
    • Video laryngoscope
    • RSI medication


Critical Content Overview

Except for cases involving trauma or pre-disposing medical conditions, a tongue-based obstruction is likely the cause of acute cessation of breathing in athletics.  The most common scenario of a tongue-based obstruction in athletics is when the tongue falls back over the airway when an athlete is rendered unconscious.  In many cases a calmly applied modified jaw thrust will pull the tongue back away from the airway.  Look, listen, and feel for breathing for 10s and the athlete is likely to begin spontaneous breathing.  If on-going airway support is required, the BLS supplies listed above will provide adequate support in the hands of properly trained rescuers until more advanced care becomes available.

Use Magill forcepts to clear any foreign body obstruction. Proper placement of an OPA or NPA as indicated. 2-person BVM ventilation is most effective Manual suction to maintain a patent airway

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