Airway Management: A Surgical Perspective
A compromised airway is a life-threatening condition. The risk of mortality or permanent disability is high without timely and effective intervention. Failure of airway control remains a significant cause of preventable death following injury. Similarly, in the non-injured critically ill patient, the airway is often inadequately assessed or poorly managed, contributing to preventable morbidity and mortality. Although a patent airway is a necessary requisite for cellular oxygenation, it is by itself not sufficient. Aerobic metabolism also requires adequate ventilation and perfusion, the latter depending on circulating blood volume and cardiac function. Because a patient will die from an airway obstruction before succumbing to a breathing or circulatory problem, airway security commands the highest priority in resuscitation.
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