Troubleshooting The Insertion Of A Tracheostomy Tube

Health & Medical Blog

Breathing is the basis of life. Without the ability to intake oxygen, the cells within the bod would die. For patients whose normal breathing mechanisms are obstructed or have failed, an alternate breathing source must be created. This alternate source typically comes in the form of a tracheostomy.

A tracheostomy is a surgically-created hole in the front of the neck into which a tube is inserted for oxygen to pass through. The tracheostomy tube must be changed regularly to prevent possible infection, but changing this tube can sometimes be difficult. There are some simple tips and tricks that you can use to help troubleshoot the insertion of a difficult tracheostomy tube in the future.

1. Make sure the patient is positioned correctly.

In order for the tracheostomy tube to go smoothly into the patient's airway, the airway needs to be as straight as possible. Have the patient lay down on his or her back and extend the chin toward the ceiling. This straightens out the airway and creates a smooth passage for the tube to travel through.

Having a patient in the wrong position can make the insertion of a tracheostomy tube nearly impossible, so take the time to get the positioning correct before attempting an insertion.

2. Use a smaller tube.

It's important to keep a number of tracheostomy tubes on hand when you are attempting to complete the insertion of a new tube. When the tubing a patient normally uses will not smoothly enter the stoma, then moving to a slightly smaller tube may help.

Any irritation or inflammation of the airway can restrict its size, making a larger tube more difficult to insert. Don't be afraid to use a smaller tube on a temporary basis to ensure the tracheostomy is able to meet the patient's needs.

3. Use a suction catheter to facilitate insertion.

Sometimes a difficult tracheostomy tube insertion is the result of a stoma that will not stay open. In these instances, it can be helpful to insert a suction catheter into the stoma prior to attempting the insertion of a new tracheostomy tube.

The suction catheter will keep the stoma in the open position, and the new tracheostomy tube can be passed through the catheter and into the stoma with ease.

Treating a patient with a tracheostomy tube can be challenging, but changing out an old tube for a fresh one can be made simpler when you position a patient correctly, utilize a smaller tube when needed, and use a suction catheter as a guide. For more information, contact your local tracheostomy services.


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