Airway management is an essential part of basic and advanced life support. In a patient who is breathing spontaneously, supplemental oxygen may prevent a cardiac or respiratory arrest. Any person in respiratory distress or cardiovascular crisis should also receive supplemental oxygen. During cardiac arrest it will be impossible to restart the heart without adequate oxygenation. Recognising airway and breathing problems promptly and responding with appropriate interventions will ensure hypoxic damage to vital organs is minimised.

This chapter considers the management of airway and breathing in the compromised patient.

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