Slideshows Images Quizzes

Copyright © 2018 by RxList Inc. RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

Definition of Airway obstruction

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Airway obstruction: Partial or complete blockage of the breathing passages to the lungs. Causes include the presence of foreign matter, allergic reactions, infections, anatomical abnormalities, and trauma. Associated respiratory distress may be sudden, with only a cough for a warning. There is often agitation in the early stages. Other signs include labored, ineffective breathing, until the person is no longer breathing (apneic). Loss of consciousness occurs if the obstruction is not relieved. Treatment of airway obstruction due to a foreign body includes the Heimlich maneuver for adults, a series of five abdominal thrusts for children over 1 year of age, and a combination of five back blows with the flat of the hand and five abdominal thrusts with two fingers on the upper abdomen for infants.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors