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quote:in comatose or intoxicated patients who are unable to protect their airways. In such patients, the throat muscles may lose their tone so that the upper airways obstruct or collapse and air can not easily enter into the lungs. Furthermore, protective airway reflexes such as coughing and swallowing, which serve to protect the airways against aspiration of secretions and foreign bodies, may be absent. With tracheal intubation, airway patency is restored and the lower airways can be protected from aspiration.