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Indication for a Tracheostomy

Tracheostomy tubes may be inserted for  a number of reasons

  1. To facilitate weaning from positive pressure ventilation in acute respiratory failure or prolonged ventilation.
  2. To secure and clear an airway in the upper respiratory tract where obstruction is a risk.
  3. To facilitate the removal of respiratory secretions.
  4. To protect/minimise risk of aspiration in the patient with poor or absent cough reflex.
  5. To obtain an airway in patients with injuries or surgery to the head and neck area.

In certain circumstances the tracheostomy may facilitate:

  • Improved oral hygiene for the intubated patient
  • Decreased requirement for sedation in the intubated patient
  • Oral movement for communication, nutrition and hydration (with manipulation)
  • Reduction in damage to the larynx, mouth or nose from prolonged endotracheal intubation
  • Vocalisation (with manipulation)
  • Improved patient comfort

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