Respiration

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Measurements of respiratory function via the ventilator or blood tests is carried out regularly to assist you with breathing depending on your needs

The ventilator: replaces or assists you with the effort of breathing when you suffer respiratory insufficiency. Oxygen is supplied on the basis of your current oxygen requirements. The oxygen content in your blood is measured via a gauge on your skin. This can sit on your finger, ear, toes or forehead. 

Intubation: A tube (endotracheal cannula) is fitted via the mouth or nose down into the trachea. The tube creates an unobstructed respiratory tract and ensures that you receive air and oxygen. It can be connected to a ventilator. In order to help you accept the tube, painkillers are administered, as well as calming (sedative) medicine if required. You will not be able to speak while you have a tube in your throat. Many people can find it frustrating and distressing to be unable to make oneself understood.

Tracheotomy: A short plastic tube (tracheal cannula) is inserted into the trachea in the front of the neck by means of an operative intervention. This replaces the tube via the mouth (the endotracheal tube) where there is a need for a controlled, unobstructed respiratory tract and respiratory support for a longer period. Advantages of the tracheostomy tube are that there is less irritation of the mouth and throat, it facilitates oral care, breathing and exercise when the ventilator is to be removed. A small scar will be left on the neck once the cannula has been removed.

Speaking valve: There is the option of discussing fitting a speaking valve to the tracheal cannula. This requires, however, that you are able to breathe unassisted and do not require ventilator treatment in the period in question. When using a speaking valve your voice may sound different than it normally does. You may find it uncomfortable to not recognize your own voice.

Suction of the respiratory tract: Ventilator treatment via a tube in your throat, bed rest, sedation and immobilization impair one’s ability to transport and cough up secretions that are formed in the respiratory tract. The staff can help by sucking out secretions using a suction catheter inserted via the tube down into the trachea. Secretions that accumulate in the mouth and throat are likewise sucked up.

A bronchoscopy is an investigation whereby, using an instrument (endoscope), one inspects the respiratory tract mucosa, the trachea and the respiratory tract in the lungs. In connection with this investigation secretions are sucked out of the respiratory tract and cultures are taken in order to see what bacteria are growing in the respiratory tract.

Thoracic drainage is a tube that is inserted through the chest wall into the pleural cavity. Blood, fluid and air are drained out through the tube, which is connected to a suction source.