Respiratory Paramedic Case Studies

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This assessment cannot be done well without knowledge of the basic anatomy and function of the respiratory system.

The structure of the respiratory tract is closely correlated with its function.

The ligament between the thyroid and cricoid cartilages is the cricothyroid ligament and membrane.

___________________________________________________________________________ OBHG Education Subcommittee 10 You must be able to reliably locate the space between the thyroid and cricoid cartilages. The epiglottis is a semi-rigid cartilaginous structure found immediately posterior to the base of the tongue. During oral-tracheal intubation, one must lift the epiglottis anteriorly in order to visualize the vocal cords.

Each sinus is a mucous membrane lined, air-filled cavity within the bony architecture of the skull which drains into the nasal cavity.

Obstruction of drainage from a sinus can lead to pain and infection called sinusitis.

Attempting to pass any tube through the nose in such a patient may result in the tube passing through the fracture into the cranium with disastrous consequences.

SINUSES Sinus Highlights • • • • sinus infections can lead to headache ethmoid sinuses occasionally rupture with pressure changes sinusitis may lead to brain abscess air-fluid level in the sphenoid sinus may indicate a basal skull fracture The nasal sinuses are the ethmoidal, frontal, maxillary and sphenoidal.

The part behind the nose is the nasal pharynx (nasopharynx), behind the mouth is the oral pharynx (oropharynx) and behind the larynx is the laryngeal pharynx (laryngopharynx). Often air will leak out of the larynx leading to subcutaneous emphysema.

FIGURE 4: LATERAL ASPECT OF THE PHARYNX ___________________________________________________________________________ OBHG Education Subcommittee 7 When looking through the mouth into the oral pharynx one can see the soft palate, uvula and tonsils. The larynx extends from the hyoid bone to the lower border of the cricoid cartilage.

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