The NPA is a flexible endo-tracheal tube that is designed to open a channel between the nostril and the naso pharynx; it can either be used in the emergency or long-term use. It aims to bypass upper airway obstruction at the level of the nose, naso-pharynx, or base of the tongue.
A correctly placed NPA will lie just above the epiglottis having separated the soft palate from the posterior wall of the oro-pharynx. This knowledge is vital if the NPA is to be sized correctly in patients: if the airway is too short it will fail to separate the soft palate from the pharynx and if too long it can either pass into the larynx and aggravate cough and gag reflexes.
The nasopharyngeal airway primarily acts as a "splint" which maintains patency of the airway, or keeps the tongue form falling back on the posterior pharyngeal wall and occluding the airway, therefore preventing airway obstruction, hypoxia and asphyxia.
How to use:
In medicine, a nasopharyngeal airway, also known as an NPA, nasal trumpet, a type of airway adjunct.
A tube that is designed to be inserted into the nasal passageway to secure an open airway.
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