The otolaryngologist is frequently called on to relieve patients suffering from acute asphyxia caused by obstructive and paralytic lesions of the respiratory tract, severe accumulations of tracheobronchial secretions, central nervous system injuries and diseases, and other pathological conditions which affect the body. He must be ready to respond quickly, at any hour, and to give immediate and lifesaving care for whatever respiratory emergency he may encounter.
Asphyxia, depending on its severity, may cause death in a few minutes if treatment is not given immediately. The word asphyxia is derived from the Greek and means, literally, without a pulse. In modern usage the word connotes, in addition, an acute oxygen deficiency, usually an acute, severe type of anoxic anoxia.
Asphyxia can be caused by a wide variety of abnormal conditions within the body and in the external environment. Flagg1 has listed 20 causes of asphyxia, which include those conditions producing
BUCKINGHAM RA. The Treatment of Acute Asphyxia by the Otolaryngologist. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1956;63(6):598–605. doi:10.1001/archotol.1956.03830120058009
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