How to use a nasopharyngeal airway (NPA)
What is an NPA?
- A flexible rubber tube which goes through the nose ends at base of tongue (an adjunct to help keep airway open)
- An oxygen mask or bag mask ventilation can be applied over the top if needed
- Use: prevents tongue covering epiglottis in patients with reduced GCS. It is tolerated better than oropharyngeal airways in more alert patients.
- Size: Average height females require a size 6 NPA and average height males a size 7 NPA (Portex sizing)
- Sizing using the patient’s finger as a guide is no longer recommended.
How to insert an NPA
- Lubricate the nasopharyngeal airway with water-soluble jelly
- Insert into the nostril (preferably right) vertically along the floor of the nose with a slight twisting action
- Aim towards the back of the opposite eyeball
- Confirm airway patency
- Click here for more details on NPAs
Video on NPA insertion
Sizes of NPA
Other airway pages