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December 10, 1960

Emergency Airway—A Plan of ActionThe Four Basic Steps for Restoring Ventilation in Critical Airway Emergencies Are Cited in This Orderly Plan of Action

JAMA. 1960;174(15):1930-1935. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030150018005

An orderly plan of action for correcting the occasional critical airway obstruction is essential; otherwise irreversible brain damage and even death may occur before effective action is taken. A safe, simple, and effective plan has been developed for restoring ventilation in critical airway emergencies. The four basic steps are: recognition of obstruction; nonsurgical maneuvers to relieve obstruction; mouth-to-mouth breathing to overcome obstruction or to diagnose persistent obstruction; and establishment of emergency surgical airway. Cricothyroid membrane puncture is the safest and simplest method for establishing a satisfactory airway under adverse and serious conditions.