Airway management is an important priority for any critically ill patient. Airway adjuncts used to help maintain a patent airway may include relatively simple devices such as an oral (Figure 1) or nasopharyngeal airway (Figure 2), while more complex airway support may require placement of either an endotracheal (ET) or tracheostomy tube. Artificial airways can be used for both short-and long-term airway management.

ET tubes are one of the most common types of artificial airways used in the critical care setting. ET tubes can be placed either nasally or orally by skilled personnel and are appropriate for short-term airway protection and/or mechanical ventilation.1 Tracheostomy tubes are generally used when longer term airway protection and/or mechanical ventilation is required, when ET intubation is not possible (eg, facial trauma) or for improved patient comfort.2 Both ET and tracheostomy...

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