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Opening The Airway

Updated on April 9, 2009

How To Open The Airway

I beleive that most of us are familiar with CPR. This hub is purely to educate on a certain portion of a basic step in starting out with CPR.... OPEN THE AIRWAY.

Some of us may be wondering as to why we have to open the airway in starting out with CPR. As you can see, when the person is unresponsive, the most likely thing that will happen is that the airway will be blocked by the tongue. The tongue will drop down towards the airway causing a natural obstruction.

This is the reason why, in CPR you have to OPEN THE AIRWAY



Practically there are two ways to open the airway.

  • Head Tilt Chin Lift Maneuver
  • Jaw Thrust Maneuver

Both methods are very effective in opening the airway. For normal circumstances the head tilt chin lift maneuver can be utilized. However if you suspect a cervical injury, the jaw thrust maneuver is advised.

Head Tilt Chin Lift Maneuver

The "head til chin lift maneuver is done by placing one hand on the forehead and placing the fingers of the other hand on the chin. Once this is done the head is tilted slowly up. More pressure is applied on the forehead and less on the chin. Placing too much pressure on the chin will eventually close the mouth.


The jaw thrust maneuver is highly recommended on situations where neck or cervical injury is suspected. By using the jaw thrust maneuver, there is no movement on the neck or the cervical area. It is very important not to move the neck or tilt the head in cases of cervical injury or neck injury could cause more problems.

The jaw thrust maneuver is done by placing the four fingers of both hands on each side of the lower jaw. Once in place, the jaws are tilted upward making sure that the head and neck remains in position. By thrusting the jaws upward, this will also open the airway, allowing the responder to provide rescue breaths.



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    • JPSO138 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Hi DDE, thanks for the comment and thanks for dropping by.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Opening The Airway is a useful interesting, and most helpful hub. Informative to all readers.

    • leogonzales154 profile image


      9 years ago

      I like the hub.. this is very informative

    • DarleneMarie profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Valuable information on a need-to-know basis! Super Hub!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Oh yes, sometimes it's the only think that works to get rid fo my headaches. It was a sort of trial and error thing. Of course I'm upright, not lying down so the mouth doesn't open in the same way.

      Thanks for the great info.

    • JPSO138 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Wow, you mean you have used it for sinusitis? I think that is something new. Usually this is best on CPR situations when you suspect a cervical injury. Nonetheless, considering that it does open the airway, then it would most likely work on sinusitis as you have said. Thanks for the comment.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Holy cow! Everyone needs to know this. Great videos. That Jaw thrust is especially important. I tried it. (And it actually works to relieve sinus pressure! Can you believe it?) Much needed now with spring allergies. Thans for the great hub!


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