Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guedel Airway Indications, Insertion and Risks

What is Guedel Airway?

Guedel airway is a medical device used to keep the airway patent. It is also known as orophareyngeal airway. Oropharyngeal airway (OPA, oral airway) prevents the tongue from falling backward and obstruction of the airway. When a person is unconscious the muscles of jaw are relaxed allowing the tongue to fall back. In this situation, Guedel’s airway is necessary to avoid the complication of tongue fall back.

Guedel's Airway

How to insert Guedel airway?

Airway management is vitally necessary for the life of every patient. Oropharyngeal airway is inserted in the patient’s mouth upside down. It means during Guedel airway insertion, it is directed upward and then is rotated through 180 degrees, allowing easy airway insertion and assurance of secured tongue.

Guedel airway sizes:

Guedel's airway are of various sizes. Colour coded airway sizes are available, from infant to adult.

Guedel airway sizes
(Source: www.sunmedhealthcare.com)

Guedel airway sizes
(Source: www.sunmedhealthcare.com)


Proper OPA size is of prime importance while inserting an oropharyngeal airway otherwise it may close the glottis, obstructing the airway. The cuffed oropharyngeal airway (COPA) is the modified form of OPA that supports and controls the airway during certain procedures.

Source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

What are the i ndications of Guedel airway?


  • Unconsciousness (do not use in conscious or semi-conscious patients as it may stimulate gag reflex leading to airway obstruction)

  • General anesthesia (during general anaesthesia and as a post-operative care for short time)
  • Pre-hospital emergency care
  • When manual methods fail to maintain the airway patent

What are the risks of oropharyngeal airway?


  • Gag reflux leading to vomiting (vomit may obstruct the airway)

  • It may close the glottis if too large (use the OPA of proper size as they are available in various sizes according to the age of the patients)

  • Injury and bleeding (if improper airway size is used)

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Keywords: Guedel's airway, Oropharyngeal airway, Airway insertion, Oral airway, Guedel airway sizes

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