In an unconscious patient the tongue may fall against oropharynx and block the airway, and this will impair ventilation. Airway adjuncts such as the OPA are used to maintain an open airway and to facilitate ventilation.
A nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) is used to assist ventilation in an unresponsive patient or to augment airway maintenance with an OPA.
The triple airway manoeuvre is the combination of head extension, mouth opening and jaw thrust, and is considered to be the most effective method for opening the airway. This method provides a more patent airway than extension of the head without jaw thrust,and is the recommended position for insertion of the LMA.