Endotracheal intubation (insert breathing tube)

Chest | Pulmonology | Endotracheal intubation (insert breathing tube) (Disease)


Endotracheal intubation is a procedure where a breathing tube is inserted into the trachea either through the mouth or the nose. Once the tube is in place the respiratory effort is supplemented or taken over by a machine. Patients usually have a sore throat after the procedure.

The tube that is used today is usually a flexible plastic tube. It is called an endotracheal tube because it is slipped within the trachea.

The most widely used route is orotracheal, in which an endotracheal tube is passed through the mouth and vocal apparatus into the trachea. In a nasotracheal procedure, an endotracheal tube is passed through the nose and vocal apparatus into the trachea. Other methods of intubation involve surgery and include the cricothyrotomy (used almost exclusively in emergency circumstances) and the tracheotomy, used primarily in situations where a prolonged need for airway support is anticipated; surgical methods are also used in emergency situations when conventional endotracheal intubation is not possible.

Causes and Risk factors

The endotracheal tube serves as an open passage through the upper airway. The purpose of endotracheal intubation is to permit air to pass freely to and from the lungs in order to ventilate the lungs. Endotracheal tubes can be connected to ventilator machines to provide artificial respiration. This can help when a patient is unconscious and by maintaining a patent airway, especially during surgery. It is often used when patients are critically ill and cannot maintain adequate respiratory function to meet their needs.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An X-ray is sometimes undertaken to confirm the placement. If the intubation is done for an operation an X-ray is not done but the oxygen and carbon dioxide content is followed closely to ensure the tube is correctly placed. ...

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