Tracheotomy Indications

To provide an artificial airway in place of oro- or naso-tracheal intubation. This may be to provide better patient comfort, to avoid vocal cord, mouth or nasal trauma or, in an emergency, to bypass acute upper airway obstruction. The optimal time to perform a tracheotomy in an intubated patient is not known; current practice suggests 10-16 days, or sooner if prolonged intubation is predicted, especially in cases of difficult intubation. Avoiding the risks of vocal cord damage may provide some advantage for a tracheostomy. The reduced need for sedation, the potential to eat, drink and speak and the facilitation of mouth care are all definite advantages.

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