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Nasopharyngeal airway: Airway management, intervention, patency, obstruction, size

Nasopharyngeal airway: Airway management, intervention, patency, obstruction, size

The nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) is an important tool for airway management in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It is a soft, flexible tube inserted through the nose and into the pharynx to maintain an open airway. The NPA helps to ensure airway patency and prevent obstruction by foreign objects or secretions.

Size: The size of the NPA should be chosen based on the patient’s age and size. Generally, adult NPAs is 28-32 French (Fr), while pediatric NPAs range from 8-20 Fr. The correct size should be selected to ensure proper fit and effective ventilation.

Intervention with an NPA involves inserting it through one nostril until it reaches the back of the throat. Once in place, it should be secured with tape or a strap around the head to prevent displacement during CPR compressions. If resistance is encountered during insertion, repositioning may be necessary before continuing insertion.

Patency: Once in place, the NPA should remain patent throughout CPR compressions and ventilations. If there is any evidence of obstruction or displacement, then repositioning or replacement may be necessary to maintain the patency of the airway.

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  • American Heart Association (2020). Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Retrieved from
  • National Institutes of Health (2020). Nasopharyngeal Airway Insertion: Procedure Overview & Tips for Successful Insertion & Management Retrieved from