How To Perform a Head-Tilt Chin-Lift

In today’s micro-lecture, Australian Paramedical College Hon. Snr. Lecturer Sam Willis talks about airway management using the head tilt, chin lift procedure.

Today, we’re going to talk about airway management using the head tilt, chin lift procedure. Now you will have already read around airway management and how important it is. And those of you who are preparing for the workshops, it’s certainly something you’re going to have a practice at when you get to the workshops.
Now, for those of you who are progressing through your studies and who are moving into preparing for second workshops, there’s something that you’re going to need to continue to maintain, because let’s face it, it’s one of the single most important things within paramedic practice is managing somebody’s airway.
As you can see just from this one image on the bottom left, down here, if the patient’s airway is blocked, then it’s only going to take between three to five minutes before they become irreversibly brain damaged and dead. So, therefore, it is one of the most important skills you can develop and continue to maintain as a paramedic.
So, you will have read around the primary survey and how it’s one of … managing the airway is more or less the first clinical thing that you do after you’ve done your danger, your response. You then have to check the airway.
Now in terms of checking the airway, there’s generally speaking one of two key ways. It’s usually managed using for the trauma patient or the non-trauma patient. The non-trauma patient is usually managed doing the head tilt, chin lift. And the trauma patient is usually have their airways opened using a combination of the triple maneuver. So, for example the jaw thrust in combination with opening the airway and tipping the head back.
So, let’s just talk about the head tilt chin lift. Now doing this on a mannequin is actually much easier than doing it on a real person. But regardless, the principles are the same. As you can see here on this image, you can see that this person has their right hand on the forehead and they have their other hand just supporting the chin. Now what you can see in this mannequin here is that their mouth has been opened through the process of tipping the head back. Now, of course there are other ways of opening the airway. So, for example you can take both hands at the side of the head and tip the head back. Or you can use these hands to form what’s called a pistol grip, where you open up the mouth like this. But regardless, it’s actually the tipping of the head back, the extension of the head that allows the airway to be open. As you can see going back to this image here, here you have this very large tongue that’s blocking the upper airways. And then here, you can see how the tongue is being displaced forwards just by opening and tipping the head back.
So, there’s all sorts of things that we can talk about in terms of airway blockages that could occur. So, for example, blood, fluids, trauma. Seizures, where the mouth is clenched shut due to trismus, due to the seizure.
But unfortunately we’ve come to the end of the micro-lecture. Now, airway management is really important, so please do keep reading around it. And certainly when you enter workshop two, you’ll be given more advanced techniques to be able to manage a patient’s airway.

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