Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Jaw thrust device for maintaining airway patency

Technology #5950

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Kevin Ward
Managed By
Bryce Pilz
Director Licensing 734-615-8433

Impaired consciousness in patients as a result of anesthesiology or other factors could result in airway blockage by the tongue. Typical techniques to manage this condition are either invasive or require the continuous physical intervention by a clinician. Herein, we describe medical device capable of passively performing a jaw thrust maneuver on a patient to ensure airway patency. The device is stable and robust, freeing the hands of the attending clinician while simultaneously improving patient outcomes.

Hands-free jaw thrust maneuver

During procedural sedation or other states of impaired consciousness the patient’s jaw may relax, allowing the tongue to slide backwards, blocking airflow to the lungs. Typically, includes either an invasive probe to open the airway or physical maneuvering of the patient’s head and jaw to dislodge the obstruction. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a device capable of applying a similar maneuver to open the airway without requiring the constant intervention of the attending clinician. The space-saving design does not interfere with other medical procedures and is easily applied to a patient in the supine position without having to move his/her body.


  • Maintaining airway patency during procedural sedation
  • Ensuring airway opening for impaired patients (due to trauma, intoxication, or other condition)
  • Treatment of sleep apnea


  • Space saving design
  • Hands free operation
  • Easily affixed to patient in supine position