Relevant answers to your frequent questions...

Tracheostomy: Frequently Asked Questions

Is a tracheostomy reversible?

Fortunately, all tracheostomies are technically reversible. However, some of them are designed to be EASILY reversible. However, more permanent tracheostomies, such as mine, are much less problem-prone. Q. I hear stuff about Montgomery cannulas, button cannulas, Jackson cannulas, Shiley

What is a cuffed tracheostomy tube?

A cuff is like a balloon, filled with air, that occludes the trachea. With an inflated cuff, the patient breathes only through the tracheostomy tube.

Why is a tracheostomy performed?

A tracheostomy is usually done for one of three reasons: (1) to bypass an obstructed upper airway; (2) to clean and remove secretions from the airway; and (3) to more easily, and usually more safely, deliver oxygen to the

Will a tracheostomy hurt?

The initial wound will cause some discomfort whilst it heals and you will be offered pain relief to help deal with this. Once the tracheostomy is established the tube should not cause pain. Patient’s sometimes report periods of coughing when the tube moves but not pain. If you experience excessive coughing then it may be necessary to try another tube size or design. This should be discussed with your clinician in charge of your tracheostomy needs.

Is a tracheostomy temporary to permanent?

It can be temporary or permanent. Basically, the tracheostomy is placed for a particular problem. If the problem is resolved, then the tracheostomy can be removed. However, if the problem does not resolve, then it may potentially be permanent.

Which doctor performs tracheostomy?

An ENT specialist surgeon is the doctor who performs tracheostomy.

How long will the tracheostomy tube stay in for?

Normally for about 5 days, depending on how swollen your face and mouth are following surgery. Also if you have been a heavy smoker prior to your operation, this may delay it being removed as you may be very chesty and have a lot of secretions.

Can I travel with a tracheostomy?

Yes, with foresight and organisation the tracheostomy should not itself prevent you from travel. You will need to discuss specific details with your hospital specialist nurse or community nurse. They will assist you with organising supplies sufficient to support your clinical needs for the duration of your travel. It may also be necessary to set up temporary access to a General Practitioner and/or hospital services. ...

Why is suctioning of a tracheostomy tube needed?

Having a tracheostomy tube increases the production of mucus in a patient and a decreases their ability to be able to cough out the mucus. Hence suctioning helps in getting rid of the blockage and marinating the proper airflow.
Having a tracheostomy tube predisposes a person to an increased production of mucus and a decreased ability to rid themselves of that mucus. Suctioning promotes proper air flow by removing excess mucus that can block air from getting through the tracheostomy tube.

Why did you choose a tracheostomy over other surgeries?

I studied the surgeries available for the treatment of Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and the trach seemed to have the highest success rate. I also wanted to be free of the CPAP machine, and the only surgery that can accomplish that goal (in my opinion) is the tracheostomy.

How often should a tracheostomy tube be changed?

We recommend changing the tracheostomy tube once a week to remove the dried or old secretions and maintain adequate hygiene of the tracheostomy tube and airway.

Why did they insert a tracheostomy tube in her trachea?

Initially she was not supporting her own breathing well and she has been unconscious since arriving in ICU. A person risks not keeping their airway open when unconscious. First they placed an airway into her windpipe from her mouth. It would have been through the nose, but her nose was broken and they could not get it into place that way. Also, with her broken nose there is concern that she might have difficulty getting air. ...

Can Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film be used around tracheostomy sites?

Yes. Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film can be applied around tracheostomy sites to prevent skin breakdown. It will help to protect the skin from fluid that could make the skin macerated and fragile.

If I have a colostomy, tracheostomy or gastrostomy is that a problem?

All the garments are custom made to fit each client and designed to accommodate all medical needs.

How do you convert a tracheostomy stoma to a usable SCOOP tract?

Downsize the patient to a #4 trach tube. Insert the SCOOP catheter into the stoma. Consider the patient to be in Phase III. After a few days, the stoma should “snug” down around the catheter. Advance the patient per standard published protocols. See our manuals containing the appropriate protocols.

Will my child be able to swim with a tracheostomy?

Some kids with trachs do swim. For kids who can cap their tubes (don't have an obstructed upper airway), it's a bit less risky. However, swimming with a trach is not recommended. The danger of drowning, near drowning (brain damage), and aspiration pneumonia is just too great. When a child has a trach the water goes directly into the lungs. There is no gag reflex to prevent aspiration.

How long would I be in the hospital if I have a tracheostomy done?

You can expect to stay about 1-2 nights in the hospital.

How long does it take to recuperate from a tracheostomy?

The worst part is usually over within a week. However, it takes about six months to a year to really heal up good.

Would I still be able to breathe normally if I get a tracheostomy?

Fortunately, your breathing will not be affected, or at least not much. Even if the cannula clogs up, you’ll still have your native breathing route. However, it is important that the cannula be clear of debris when you are sleeping so it can do its job. Q. I am very conscious of my appearance. How would a tracheostomy affect my appear-

Will I be able to speak with a tracheostomy ?

Your ability to speak with a tracheostomy will depend on your voice before the tracheostomy, the reason why you need a tracheostomy and the type and size of tube you have inserted. Your speech and language therapist will work with you following tracheostomy formation to work towards you speaking. This can often start the next day following theatre and involves deflating the cuff (balloon) on the tube and placing a speaking valve on the tube. This then re-directs the airflow back out through your nose and mouth. ...

Can a person with a tracheostomy work around food like a restaurant/cafeteria?

There are no absolute contraindications regarding an individual with a tracheostomy working in food service. Meticulous hygiene and tracheostomy care would be required. The individual with the tracheostomy could wear a speaking valve or cap/plug if medically appropriate; otherwise, a mask, trach bib, or loose scarf could be used to cover/protect the trach site. ...

What do you have to do to care for the tracheostomy tube?

After the surgery the area around tube has to be cleaned with gauze dipped in hydrogen peroxide. The tube would have to be suctioned whenever it becomes clogged.

Can the ResQPOD Circulatory Enhancer be used on a patient with a tracheostomy or stoma?

A patient with a stoma could have an endotracheal tube placed into the stoma for airway management. If there is not a good seal between the airway device and the lungs, the ResQPOD may be less effective. As long as there is an adequate seal during positive pressure ventilation, the ResQPOD should work effectively. It is the ultimate decision of the prescribing physician to determine in what ages of patients the ResQPOD should be used.

Can someone with a tracheostomy tube and ventilator be cared for at home?

Yes, a nurse can evaluate the patients needs and, along with the accounts manager, will determine insurance coverage. Home care for medically complex clients can range from frequent visits to 24 hour a day nursing care. Qualified staff will also assist patient/family with coordination of medical equipment.

Will I lose my voice if I get a tracheostomy?

Fortunately, your voice WILL be left intact unless you have cancer in there.

How soon can I expect to reap benefits from my tracheostomy?

There is a possibility that you may begin to reap benefits on the first night! However, I didn’t reap much benefit the first night due to chronic bronchitis. I did reap notice- able benefit on the second night. Q. I heard that some people’s rooms at home resemble an ICU. What is the likelihood

Why do you need the inner cannula with a tracheostomy?

Inner cannula is very important for patients especially when they have a lot of secretions. First of all, it is easier to pull the inner cannula out and clean it to maintain hygiene of the airway. Secondly, if patients develop a mucus plug, you can pull the inner cannula out and have the outer cannula serve as the airway. You can then either place a new inner cannula or clean the plug out of the old one and reuse it depending on whether the tube is disposable or not. ...

Is a pulsating oxygen delivery system available in airplanes compatible with a self-ventilating patient with a tracheostomy tube in place?

Pulsating Delivery System delivers oxygen on demand from the patient. It means that only if the patient takes a breath, the oxygen is delivered. The system will not be able to sense the effort by the patient if he/she is breathing via tracheostomy. However, if the patient's supplemental oxygen is delivered via HME, the system might be able to sense and deliver the oxygen but it is not guaranteed. Another option would be to provide oxygen directly to the patient (without using the HME) using a regular oxygen cylinder. ...

Can a person with a tracheostomy and his/her right side impaired due to stroke be able to go on a 3 day cruise?

Yes, a person with a tracheostomy and right sided impairment due to stroke will be able to go on a 3 day cruise as long they have the suction machine, equipment, oxygen and their usual help (if they require a caregiver routinely).
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