Skip to content

Oropharyngeal Airway

An oropharyngeal airway is a curved plastic device that is inserted into the mouth to the posterior pharynx to establish or maintain a patient's airways. In a unconscious patient, the tongue usually obstructs the posterior pharynx. The oropharyngeal airway conforms to the curvature of the palate, removing the obstruction and allowing air to pass around and through the tube. It also facilitates oropharyngeal suctioning. The oropharyngeal  airway is intended for short-term use, as in the postanesthesia or postictal stage. It may be left in place longer as an airway adjunct to prevent the orally intubated patient from bitting the endotracheal tube.