About Airway Obstruction

An airway obstruction involves an object blocking the upper airway, which may include the larynx, trachea or throat area. Lower airway obstructions can also occur when the bronchioles become swollen, blocking a person’s main passageway into the lungs. Often times, when an acute obstruction occurs in the airway, it is an emergency situation that requires direct attention. Whether it is caused by an inflamed throat or an object being lodged down into the airways, the attention becomes focused on getting the individual safe and breathing. The professional at miVIP has the resources to do just that.

Millions of people suffer from obstructions each year. When given the proper treatment quickly, these individuals have a good chance of survival.

Causes of Airway Obstruction

There are several things that can cause an obstruction in your airway, including:

  • Throat Cancer: The airway can become blocked with abnormal growths stemming from throat cancer.
  • Trauma: Trauma can cause inflammation of the tissues surrounding the airway.
  • Tracheomalacia: This condition is indicated by weakened tracheal walls that may collapse.
  • Foreign Bodies: Foods, buttons, coins and small toys can easily obstruct the airway.
  • Allergic Reactions: During severe allergic reactions, the throat can swell and close off the passageway of air. Common allergic reactions include peanuts, bee stings or antibiotics.
  • Chemical Burns: A reaction from a chemical burn can cause significant swelling of the throat.
  • Croup: This seal-like cough can irritate the tissue lining of the throat and cause it to become inflamed.
  • Asthma: Asthma is another condition where the lining of bronchioles can swell closed.
  • Cystic Fibrosis: This chronic condition involves excessive mucus production, which can clog the airways.

Whatever the cause of your clogged airways, miVIP can provide treatment to clear up your condition quickly.

Common Airway Obstruction Symptoms

Symptoms of airway obstruction are usually pretty easy to spot. When an individual is conscious and is unable to get air due to a blockage in their throat, common signs include the following:

  • Choking
  • Extreme agitation or fidgeting
  • Gasping for air/Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Panic
  • Wheezing

If the patient is no longer conscious, look for the following symptoms to determine whether they have an obstruction in their airway:

  • Skin is turning blue (cyanosis)
  • Visual object blocking the throat

      Treating Airway Obstruction

        Tried and true, the Heimlich maneuver is used to dislodge an obstruction from a person’s throat; however, it usually won’t work if the obstruction is lower in the air passageway.

          A tracheostomy procedure involves creating an opening directly into the airway. An opening is made in the windpipe or trachea, and a tube is placed into the opening, providing an immediate airway.


              The prognosis of an airway obstruction depends on the type of obstruction, as well as the severity of the condition. Whether you need a Heimlich maneuver or a tracheostomy procedure, using the proper technique to treat the condition quickly will help to increase chances of survival.

                Call miVIP Surgery Centers!

                  Call 855-496-4847 today for help will your emergency ENT conditions. Our skilled surgeons are standing by with the latest, innovative techniques to help resolves your issue.