Assessment of victims of major trauma must include maintenance of their airways and breathing. Any false teeth, vomitus and foreign bodies should be removed, and the response to digital stimulation of the posterior pharyngeal wall – the ‘gag reﬂex’ – assessed. Even with a normal gag reﬂex, the airway may be seriously threatened if vomiting occurs. During the initial stages of resuscitation, careful and constant supervision of the airway is essential, with a high-volume sucker immediately available. If the gag reﬂex is absent or impaired, an endotracheal tube should be inserted (see ENDOTRACHEAL INTUBATION).
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary