Key messages

• Phonation, detection of breath sounds, particularly using a stethoscope applied over the upper trachea and both lung fields, and the feel of breath on the hand are readily observable clinical signs.

• Techniques of airway opening and maintenance include posture, chin lift, and jaw thrust.

• In patients with suspected or proven cervical spine injury it is recommended that the cervical spine be protected by manual in-line axial stabilization.

• Devices for airway maintenance during adult life support include the oropharyngeal airway, the nasopharyngeal airway, the laryngeal mask airway, the pharyngotracheal lumen airway, and the Combitube esophageal-tracheal airway.

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