Need Medical Opinions on Tracheostomy

Hi All,

One of my relative is being bitten by a snake and the venom of it have poised through all the major organs like kidney, lungs and blood etc. Whilst she was facing a lot of complications due to this multiple organ failure last week, she is now recouping and recovering in a better way. For nearly 13 days she was kept on ventilator and the doctors have done tracheostomy as they cannot have her on ventilator for long.

I understand the point that tracheostomy is very essential for her, Now my question is,
Is tracheostomy common in the present world?
Can the tube which is now placed directly into the trachea be removed if she recovers gets back to the normal state without any breathing troubles?
Are there any serious implications that has to be taken care or worried about because of Tracheostomy?

Can you people please clarify as I am bit worried about these terms.

Thanks in Advance for all your responses both medicinal and anecdotal.

I am not a doctor, but I have had relatives and friends with serious medical problems and until an actual doctor comes along I will do my best

Yes, although I’m not entirely sure you’re using the exact term, but for anyone requiring breathing assistance for a long periods they are much preferred. A tube down your throat into your lungs can cause irritation and damage the vocal cords.

Yes. I’ve known a couple people who had this procedure done and later regained their health. The tube was removed and, aside from a scar on their throat there is no sign of their prior ordeal.

Of course, severe medical problems might leave long-term side effects, but in your relative’s case that would be due to the snake venom and not the breathing tube in her throat.

That sort of thing requires skilled nursing care while it is in place. I don’t know the details, but assuming she recovers fully from the snake venom once the hole heals up she should be fine and it shouldn’t require any special attention afterward.

I hope you find this reassuring. I’m sure it’s quite alarming. I wish your relative the best.

I expect a doctor or nurse will be along shortly to go into more detail.

Hey, actress Elizabeth Taylor had a tracheotomy back in the 1960s. She did ok after that.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Hank Williams Jr., and Luther Vandross all faired quite well after a tracheotomy. There are several other famous people whose names you will likely recognize. In short, a patient can recover fully and move on after a tracheotomy is performed.

And those living with a trach can live full lives, thought perhaps with some limitations. A good friend breathes through one and we met in a sailing club. He did lament that he could not windsurf due to the hazards of inhaling water when he would undoubtedly fall in.

My husband has been trached for about 7 years now due to the effects of muscular dystrophy. He has adjusted very well, eats whatever he wants, talks ( too much sometimes) with a PMV (Passy-Muir valve). The biggest problem he faces is aspiration; if anything goes down the wrong way it’s likely he’ll develop pneumonia, but avoiding that is a matter of his eating carefully and slowly, and tucking his chin toward his chest when he swallows. He had to undergo a number of swallowing evaluations to prove he could eat/drink without choking, but once he passed there were no restrictions.

There are different types and sizes of tubes; his has a little air balloon cuff that goes around the outside of the tube and, when inflated, allows him to go onto his ventilator at night. The cuff is the weakest part of the whole setup, and if it develops a leak we have to get it changed out right away. Different people get them changed on different schedules. I don’t do his changes, but I do perform his daily maintenance, which is really just keeping the area clean and dry and rinsing out the inner cannula (fancy word for tube).

If the patient is able to be taken off the ventilator, the stoma (hole) will simply close over and leave a little scar, no big deal. My husband will need his for the rest of his life, but he’s able to do pretty much anything he wants (has to be careful in the shower, but you learn).

An elective tracheostomy for the purpose of creating a more permanent access to the airway (trachea) is very safe, with minimal complications when done by experienced personnel. It sounds as though your relative will need to be on a ventilator for a while, and the purpose of the the tracheostomy is to avoid having the breathing tube go through the mouth or nose all the time. That creates its own problems (for example, injury secondary to prolonged pressure from the inflatable cuff of the endotracheal tube) so at some point a decision is undertaken to do the tracheostomy. The little curved tube that goes in through the tracheostomy is easier to take care of and has fewer complications than a long-term endotracheal tube that goes through the mouth or nose.

Tracheostomies are very common. As the muscles that control her breathing recover, she can have periods of time where the breathing is unassisted by the ventilator, and if she recovers to a point where she is unlikely to need any assistance at all, the tracheostomy tube can be removed and the opening allowed to heal up (or get surgically repaired if necessary). If she has the trach for a longer period of time, she and others will learn to take care of it, but hopefully this will be a temporary situation.

It sounds like the course of action being taken is appropriate. Best.

Hi people,
Thanks for your valuable information and thoughts around tracheotomy. Ever since tracheotomy was done, she was getting better that day and in the next day morning of around 3.00 A.M. she did get breathing troubles and was again moved on to ventilator.

Now the doctors keep saying that there is an immense mucus secretion which has got settled around her lungs because of which her lungs are not able to contract and relax. As a result of which she is pulled back on to ventilator. The doctors have been trying various antibiotics. But still they keep saying that the lungs doesn’t get improved.

Is there a way to remove the deposition around/on the lungs? Today is her 23rd day on bed and the probability of getting blubs and bed sour are getting more likely.

Have anyone in the world faced this kind of situation, Please respond!

Thanks in Advance