Berman Oral Airways

WLMD ID: aiuc, aiud, aiue, aiuf
Pictured, from left to right, is a Large Berman Airway, followed by Medium, Child size, and Infant size Berman Airways. Oropharyngeal (oral) airways are placed over the tongue to create an air passage from the mouth to the far back of the throat. They are just one device used by anesthesiologists to maintain an unobstructed passage through which patient’s breathe during surgery. The design of this ‘dual-channel’ airway was one of Dr. Robert A. Berman's (1914-1999) earliest innovations. The open channel on each side, with a central support, was very different from previous oral airways, which had central tubes. Oral airways with a central tube may contain mucous or other matter that is not visible to the physician. Dr. Berman viewed this as a safety concern and designed his airway to prevent unseen occlusion. He was also one of the first, if not the first, to make an oral airway from plastic rather than metal or hard rubber. The Berman Airway is still used today by anesthesiologists and other health-care providers. Dr. Berman applied to patent the airway in 1949. The patent was granted in 1952.

Catalog Record: Berman Oral Airways

Four Catalog Records (aiuc, aiud, aiue, aiuf):

Access Key: aiuc
Accession No.: 2007-10-26-3 H 2

Title: Berman airway : L / [designed by Robert A. Berman.]

Author: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Large Berman oral airway.

Publisher: [S.l. : s.n. ; 1947-1949.]

Physical Description: 1 oropharyngeal airway : plastic ; 6 x 2.5 x 11 cm.

Subject: Oropharyngeal Airway Devices.
Subject: Airway Management Equipment.
Subject: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title based on the WLM name for the airway, and confirmed by accession
records and by comparing to currently manufactured airways of the same type.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Berman RA, inventor. Respiratory device. US patent 2,599,521. June 3, 1952.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Oropharyngeal-airway made from an opaque, colorless plastic; The upper and
lower flanges are rounded, as is the pharyngeal end; A cross-section of the
airway would resemble a letter H on its side, as there is a central support,
for upper and lower ‘plates’, that creates an open channel along each side of
the airway; It is shaped to reflect the curvature of the oropharynx
(sickle-like shape); Measured in straight lines from ‘top to bottom’, ‘side
to side’ and ‘end to end’, it measures approx. 6 x 2.5 x 11 cm; Manufacturer
markings along the central support include, “BERMAN AIRWAY” AND “L”; On the
other side of the central support is, “PAT #2,599,521” and “MADE IN U.S.A.”.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle, Sept. 24, 2010.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by the Daniel F. Dedrich, M.D. Donation facilitated by
Sukumar P. Desai, M.D.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: The design of this dual-channel airway was one of Dr. Robert A. Berman’s
earliest innovations. He was one of the first, if not the first, to make an
oropharyngeal airway with plastic rather than metal or hard rubber. The open
channel on each side, with a central support, was very different from
previous airways, which had central tubes. Oral-airways with a central tube
can contain mucous or other matter that is not visible to the physician, and
Dr. Berman viewed this as a safety issue. He designed this oral-airway to
prevent unseen airway occlusion: “The use of open passageways makes for easy
cleaning under direct vision; it is impossible in the respiratory airway of
my invention for any mucous or other foreign matter to go undetected” (Berman
1952). The Berman airway is still used today by anesthesiologists and other
health-care providers. Berman applied to patent the airway in 1949. The
patent was granted in 1952.

Access Key: aiud
Accession No.: 66-36

Title: Berman airway : M / [designed by Robert A. Berman].

Author: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Medium Berman oral airway.

Publisher: [S.l. : s.n. ; 1950-1980.]

Physical Description: 1 oropharyngeal airway : plastic ; 5 x 2.5 x 10 cm.

Subject: Oropharyngeal Airway Devices.
Subject: Airway Management Equipment.
Subject: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title based on the WLM name for the airway, and confirmed by comparing to
currently manufactured airways of the same type.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Berman RA, inventor. Respiratory device. US patent 2,599,521. June 3, 1952.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Oropharyngeal-airway made from an opaque, colorless plastic; The upper and
lower flanges are rounded, as is the pharyngeal end; A cross-section of the
airway would resemble a letter H on its side, as there is a central support,
for upper and lower ‘plates’, that creates an open channel along each side of
the airway; It is curved to reflect the shape of the oropharynx (sickle-like
shape); Measured in straight lines from ‘top to bottom’, ‘side to side’ and
‘end to end’, it measures approx. 5 x 2.5 x 10 cm; Manufacturer markings on
the central support read, “BERMAN AIRWAY” and “M” on one side, with “PAT PEND
MADE IN U.S.A.” on the other side.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle, Sept. 24, 2010.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by The Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota. Donation
facilitated by Thomas H. Seldon, M.D. (1905-1991).

Access Key: aiue
Accession No.: 2011-01-11-3

Title: Berman airway : C / [designed by Robert A. Berman].

Author: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Child size Berman oral airway.

Publisher: [S.l. : s.n. ; 1952-2000.]

Physical Description: 1 oropharyngeal airway : plastic ; 3 x 1.5 x 6.5 cm.

Subject: Oropharyngeal Airway Devices.
Subject: Airway Management Equipment.
Subject: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.
Subject: Anesthesia, Pediatric.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title based on the WLM name for the airway, and confirmed by accession
records and by comparing to currently manufactured airways of the same type.

Note Type: General
Notes: Other Berman airways of the same size, in the WLM collection, are marked with
“S” rather than “C”.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Berman RA, inventor. Respiratory device. US patent 2,599,521. June 3, 1952.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Oropharyngeal-airway made from an opaque, colorless plastic; The aging
plastic is turning a yellowish color; The upper and lower flanges are rounded
as is the pharyngeal end; A cross-section of the airway would resemble a
letter H on its side, as there is a central support, for upper and lower
‘plates’, that creates an open channel along each side of the airway; It is
shaped to reflect the curvature of the oropharynx (sickle-like shape);
Measured in straight lines from ‘top to bottom’, ‘side to side’ and ‘end to
end’, it measures approx. 3 x 1.5 x 6.5 cm; Manufacturer markings on the
central support read, “BERMAN AIRWAY” and “C” on one side, with “PAT #2,599,
521” and “MADE IN U.S.A.” on the other side.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle, Sept. 24, 2010.

Access Key: aiuf
Accession No.: 2011-01-11-2

Title: Berman airway : I / [designed by Robert A. Berman].

Author: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Infant size Berman oral airway.

Publisher: [S.l. : s.n. ; 1952-2000.]

Physical Description: 1 oropharyngeal airway : plastic ; 2.5 x 1 x 4.5 cm.

Subject: Oropharyngeal Airway Devices.
Subject: Airway Management Equipment.
Subject: Berman, Robert A. (Alvin), 1914-1999.
Subject: Anesthesia, Pediatric.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title based on the WLM name for the airway, and confirmed by comparing to
currently manufactured airways of the same type.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Berman RA, inventor. Respiratory device. US patent 2,599,521. June 3, 1952.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Oropharyngeal-airway made from an opaque, colorless plastic; The upper and
lower flanges are rounded, as is the pharyngeal-end; A cross-section of the
airway would resemble a letter H on its side, as there is a central support,
for upper and lower ‘plates’, that creates an open channel along each side of
the airway; It is curved to reflect the shape of the oropharynx (sickle-like
shape); Measured in straight lines from ‘top to bottom’, ‘side to side’ and
‘end to end’, it measures approx. 2.5 x 1 x 4.5 cm; Manufacturer markings
on the central support read, “BERMAN AIRWAY” and “I” on one side, with “PAT
#2599521 MADE IN U.S.A.” on the other side.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle, Sept. 24, 2010.