Excerpts from Respiration and Artificial Ventilation
While treating a responsive patient:
- If the patient speaks, the airway is functional but may still be at risk. Foreign body or substances in the mouth may impair the airway and must be removed using finger sweep to remove solid objects. Suction machines can be helpful in removing secretions. Determine if there is a complete obstruction or partial obstruction. Abdominal thrusts are the most effective method for clearing the airway.
- If the upper airway becomes narrowed, inspiration may produce a high-pitched whistling sound known as stridor. Look for foreign body obstruction, swelling or trauma.
- Airway patency must be continually reassessed.
- Assess for normal or abnormal breathing in adults based on the previously discussed rate issues, noisy breathing (snoring, gurgling, crowing, wheezing, and stridor), and effort of breathing.
- Encourage the responsive patient to cough.
Do not interfere with the patient’s efforts to clear the airway.