Distal Pharyngeal Airway

The McMurray Enhanced Airway (MEA), the first distal pharyngeal airway (DPA), has been named a 2021 EMS World Innovation Awards winner. EMS World’s program “recognizes the industry’s most pioneering products of the year that have the potential to transform EMS care.”

Created by an anesthesia professional, the MEA quickly stents open a patient’s airway, facilitating ventilation and oxygenation. Emergency responders appreciate the MEA’s intuitive, fast insertion—no special positioning or ancillary items like tongue depressors or lubrication are needed. The MEA also can be attached to a resuscitator bag for positive pressure intraoral ventilation.

“The place-and-go design of the MEA is very well suited for EMS use,” said Roxanne McMurray, DNP, APRN, CRNA, and inventor of the MEA. McMurray originally created the MEA to address a clinical void in airway management in anesthesia. The distal end of the MEA’s longer flexible tubing sits lower in the pharynx than other oral airways. By displacing redundant pharyngeal tissue within the upper airway near the epiglottis, the MEA stents open the airway for improved ventilation. The device is an excellent front-line airway management option for both surgical procedures under anesthesia and emergency use.

Distal pharyngeal airway

The MEA also maintains a patent airway without the need for healthcare staff to hold the patient’s head in positions that keep the airway open. “Chin lift and jaw thrust maneuvers are commonly used to keep patients’ airways open,” says McMurray. “These practices require direct contact between the patient and provider, sometimes for extended periods in the case of surgical procedures. The MEA helps eliminate the need for hands-on chin lift and jaw thrust positions, which takes on new importance in the COVID-19 era.”

In addition to the EMS honor, McMurray Medical was also selected as a finalist for the World Airway Management Meeting (WAMM) Innovation in Airway Management award in 2019, which recognizes “the importance of innovation in Airway Management for the benefit of patients, staff or workplace or any combination of the three.”