Though deep sedation is a routine part of many medical procedures, patients under anesthesia are susceptible to airway obstruction as their throat and tongue muscles relax. Most common methods to prevent obstruction are complicated and carry additional risks. Researchers at UCI have developed a safe and comfortable medical collar that maintains patients’ airways and is entirely adjustable.
Nearly 30% of surgeries require monitored anesthesia care (MAC), which includes local anesthesia along with sedation and analgesia. In such cases, patients are totally paralyzed, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Though routine, patients under MAC are prone to airway obstruction either from the tongue falling back over the airway or the relaxation of laryngeal muscles. The most common methods of preventing such obstruction are naso-/oro-pharyngeal tubes, which extend from the nose/mouth to the pharynx, and medical devices that extend and support the neck. Medical devices are typically preferred as they do not carry the associated insertion risks that pharyngeal tubes do. Currently, however, most neck extending devices work only at one body position (e.g., a patient lying flat on his/her back) and are made from clunky and uncomfortable plastic.
To this end, researchers at UCI have developed a disposable medical collar to maintain patient airways for a variety of body positions. The collar is made of a dense foam which is wrapped around the patient’s neck, and is comfortable yet supportive enough to keep the airway clear. In addition to offering airway support at a variety of body positions, the collar is also entirely adjustable and can be fit to each individual patient. As each collar is disposable and used for only one patient, this shortens OR turnover time as the patient can be taken to the post-anesthesia recovery room while still wearing the device.
For the extension of patients’ necks under sedation, to prevent airway obstruction