Outline the potential advantages and disadvantages of a tracheostomy in the weaning of patients from mechanical ventilation.
Limited actual clinical trial data is available to support the performance of a tracheostomy over maintaining prolonged endotracheal intubation. Purported advantages include: less laryngeal pathology (not supported by the literature); improved patient comfort including reduced respiratory work of breathing and less sedation requirements for tube tolerance; improved communication (speech not possible with ETT), enhanced nursing care (including mouth care & mobility), ease of replacement of tracheal tube, ease of removal/reinstitution of ventilatory support, facilitate transfer to ward (with airway protection and ready airway access for suctioning).
Potential disadvantages include: requirement for surgical procedure and therefore associated peri-operative and post- operative procedural risks including haemorrhage, pneumothorax, tracheal perforation, and even death; increased aspiration risk, increased incidence of nosocomial pneumonia; increased risk of subglottic stenosis and granuloma formation; infection of stoma; occlusion of tracheostomy tube (posterior tracheal wall, granulomata, secretions [if not regular change of tube or inner cannula and/or problems with humidification]); problems associated with decannulation (either elective or emergent: including complicate emergency airway management).
Local resources for this topic:
Advantages of tracheostomy
Disadvantages of tracheostomy
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