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What is the most common cause of airway obstruction in unconscious patients?

This question is part of Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support - 30 Mins - EMT-B
Asked by Medic, Last updated: Nov 25, 2020

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2 Answers

E. James

E. James

E. James
E. James

Answered Dec 04, 2019

The correct answer is Flaccid tongue blocking the hypopharynx
The most common cause of airway obstruction in unconscious patients is the flaccid tongue blocking the hypopharynx. The collapse of the upper airway is common in unconscious patients.

Patients with a tendency to upper airway obstruction during sleep are vulnerable when unconscious or sedated.

The loss of wakefulness worsens depression of airway muscle activity, so they (patients) cannot respond adequately to asphyxia.

All other options listed above, such as crush injury to the trachea, foreign body obstruction, and edema of the vocal cords, can cause airway obstruction, mostly inpatient in the conscious state, rather than causing an obstruction in patients in an unconscious state.

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medic2690

medic

medic2690
Medic

Answered Jul 04, 2018

Flaccid tongue blocking the hypopharynx
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