Nasopharyngeal airway tube

Last revised by Bálint Botz on 23 Jan 2021

Nasopharyngeal airway tubes are commonly used adjunctory airway devices, primarily utilized as a temporary measure until more stable method of securing the airways (e.g. endotracheal intubation) can be performed. 

Nasopharyngeal airway tubes are made of soft plastic, and are introduced via the nose until the posterior pharynx is reached. As these devices do not trigger a gag reflex, they are particularly useful for alert patients, or in case of difficulty of opening the mouth (e.g. trismus) 1

Radiographic appearance

The tip of a correctly positioned nasopharyngeal airway tube should be right above the epiglottis. As these tubes are commonly introduced acutely during pre-hospital management it is prudent to check their position on acute CT exams of the head and cervical spine. 

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