The Advanced Nasopharyngeal Airway

The Problem

Nasopharyngeal airways (NPAs) are a mainstay of airway management in the civilian and military prehospital environment and are also commonly utilized in emergency departments and operating rooms. These airway adjuncts are designed to be inserted into the nasopharynx and the distal tip enters the hypopharynx, lifting the base of the tongue off of the pharyngeal wall, resolving upper airway obstruction.

The current Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines recommend the use of NPAs in casualties with airway obstruction or impending airway obstruction. NPAs are recommended to be carried by all combatants in their Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK).

Despite the cruciality of NPAs for combat and civilian medicine, their failure rates are alarmingly high, as airway obstruction can still occur in up to 42% of patients with an NPA in place. These failure rates are attributed to the narrow margin of error to relieve airway obstruction with the NPA. The issue of NPA length is the primary driving factor behind NPA complications and effectiveness.

Our Solution

Multiple studies have demonstrated a strong correlations between height and nares- to epiglottis distance. Using this data,  we have developed the The Advanced Nasopharyngeal Airway; a novel nasopharyngeal airway that can be precisely adjusted to the optimal length based on the patient’s height, without opening the sterile packaging or altering the device. 

This device is ideal for usage in the individual first aid kits, as combatants can preset their individual NPAs to the optimal length when issued their IFAK. In this scenario, every casualty will already have an optimally sized, pre-lubricated NPA on their person in the IFAK. The Advanced Nasopharyngeal Airway fits into the current IFAKs, is lightweight, and easier to open than current NPAs.

The reinforced posterior bevel reduces the incidence of nasal trauma and bleeding, aids in proper device placement and simplifies training and device operation.