Maintaining an open and accessible airway in injured persons

Maintaining an open and patent airway is considered a priority procedure by emergency medical teams when caring for injured persons, especially when cervical spine injury is suspected. In such cases, the standard method of opening the airway by lifting the chin and tilting the head back should not be used, as it may aggravate injuries to the cervical spine. Instead, a modified method of opening the airway is used to facilitate the passage of air and maintain a safe position of the head and neck.

The procedure for modified airway opening includes the following steps:

  1. First, ensure safety for yourself and the injured person.
  2. Use personal protective equipment, including gloves and safety glasses if necessary.
  3. If possible, lay the injured person on his back.
  4. Lie over the injured person’s head.
  5. Place your palms on either side of the person’s head to place the head and neck in a neutral position. Be careful not to touch your eyes.
  6. Place your thumbs under your eyes and on your cheekbones.
  7. Use your index and middle fingers to press the corners of the lower jaw forward, opening the airway.

This procedure allows the airway to be opened without causing further injury to the cervical spine. It is important to carry out these steps carefully to ensure proper maintenance of the injured person’s airway.


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