The paediatric airway: Basic principles and current developments

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Perioperative airway problems frequently result in significant morbidity and mortality in children. Therefore, proficiency in airway management is one of the most important key elements in the safe conduct of paediatric anaesthesia. This review includes important anatomical and physiological aspects of the paediatric airway, challenges encountered, and their management with commonly available resources. The importance of early recognition and treatment of anatomical or functional airway obstruction using locally adapted algorithms is highlighted. Children deemed at risk of aspiration require a controlled rapid sequence induction with sufficiently deep anaesthesia, confirmed complete muscle paralysis and intermittent ventilation prior to tracheal intubation. The benefits of a supraglottic airway device and a cuffed tracheal tube in paediatric airway management are discussed. The primary goal of mastering the paediatric airway is to ensure oxygenation and ventilation. This requires intricate knowledge, regular practice and experience.

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