Airway obstruction - acute upper
If the person has a complete obstruction and is unable to speak or breathe, the
Treatment depends on the cause of the blockage.
- Objects stuck in the airway may be removed with a laryngoscope or
- A tube may be inserted into the airway (endotracheal tube or nasotracheal tube).
- Sometimes an opening is made directly into the airway (
Prompt treatment is often successful. However, the condition is dangerous and may be fatal, even if treated.
Inability to relieve the obstruction can cause:
- Brain damage
- Breathing failure
Calling your health care provider
Airway obstruction is an emergency. It is a good idea to learn how to clear an airway of a foreign body by using a method such as the Heimlich maneuver.
Diseases in which airway obstruction develops over a period of hours will allow time to get to a hospital. If an acute airway obstruction occurs, call 911 or your local emergency number for medical help. Do what you can to maintain breathing until medical help arrives.