Review of Upper Airway Anatomy and Its Clinical Application

  • Ahmed ZaghwEmail author
  • Nabil A. Shallik
  • Ahmed Fayed El Geziry
  • Amr Elhakeem


In the era of advanced reconstructive 3D imaging, airway management has started to rely heavily on the use of multidimensional airway anatomy to aid the diagnosis and treatment. The skills for airway management, mindful orientation of the airway anatomy, deep understanding of the functional anatomy of the airway, and its physiological role under different stressful conditions are all necessary to achieve excellence in airway management. In this chapter we review the basics of airway anatomy and the use of advanced airway imaging in relation to anesthesia practice. It should also be noted that this chapter covers the use of different airway devices, e.g., laryngeal mask airways (LMA), Guedel airways, and under various clinical conditions such as in sedation, upper airway masses, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The chapter highlights the conceptual gap between theoritical and the functional anatomy of the upper airway, the dynamics of special airway events as loss of the airway, airway collapse, difficult ventilation scenarios, and failure of airway equipment. This chapter is intended for anesthesiologists, healthcare practitioners, and residents in training. A detailed surgical anatomy is beyond the scope of this chapter.


Airway anatomy Clinical application Functional airway anatomy Airway management Clinical pearls 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Zaghw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nabil A. Shallik
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ahmed Fayed El Geziry
    • 1
  • Amr Elhakeem
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, ICU and Perioperative MedicineHamad Medical CorporationDohaQatar
  2. 2.Department of Clinical AnesthesiologyWeill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMQ)DohaQatar
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Surgical Intensive Care, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  4. 4.(ORL-HNS) DepartmentHamad Medical CorporationDohaQatar

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