Tracheostomy - Share Your Experience

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Did you or someone you know have a tracheostomy? Please discuss your experience.

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The tracheostomy procedure

In most situations, the surgery is performed in the intensive care unit or in the operating room. In either location, the patient is continuously monitored by pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation) and cardiac rhythm (EKG). The anesthesiologists usually use a mixture of an intravenous medication and a local anesthetic in order to make the procedure comfortable for the patient.

The surgeon makes an incision low in the neck. The trachea is identified in the middle and an opening is created to allow for the new breathing passage (tracheostomy tube) to be inserted below the voice box (larynx). Newer techniques utilizing special instruments have made it possible to perform this procedure via a percutaneous approach (a less invasive approach using a piercing method rather than an open surgical incision).

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Jabba, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I had a tracheostomy in March last year. After having a fall and breaking an arm, l was sent to hospital, and later sent home (at night and in the cold, and in my seventies). Nothing was done to my arm and l was given Endone for the pain (l don't remember this, my husband told me). This caused me to have an episode, in which l apparently died, was revived by ambulance people and rushed to hospital, where they performed the tracheostomy. It has changed my life, l am just lucky l have a husband who has taken on the job of caring for me.

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Comment from: Martha, Female (Caregiver) Published: April 05

My husband had a tracheostomy inserted in February. He has been having radiation and chemotherapy for seven weeks. But the pain from the tracheostomy is severe. The doctor says he cannot take it out yet because of the fear of choking. He has pain medicine and a patch, but it is the tracheostomy tube that really hurts him.

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