Trauma has assumed epidemic proportion. 10% of global road accident deaths occur in India. Hypoxia and airway mismanagement are known to contribute up to 34% of pre-hospital deaths in these patients. A high degree of suspicion for actual or impending airway obstruction should be assumed in all trauma patients. Objective signs of airway compromise include agitation, obtundation, cyanosis, abnormal breath sound and deviated trachea. If time permits, one should carry out a brief airway assessment prior to undertaking definitive airway management in these patients. Simple techniques for establishing and maintaining airway patency include jaw thrust maneuver and/or use of oro- and nas-opharyngeal airways. All attempts must be made to perform definitive airway management whenever airway is compromised that is not amenable to simple strategies. The selection of airway device and route- oral or -nasal, for tracheal intubation should be based on nature of patient injury, experience and skill level.
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