A healthcare provider intubates a patient by inserting a tube through their mouth or nose and down into their trachea (airway/windpipe). The tube maintains the trachea open, allowing air to pass. The tube can be connected to an air or oxygen delivery unit.
Intubation can also be referred to as tracheal or endotracheal intubation.
What is intubation meaning and how does it work?
Intubation Means: When someone is unable to breathe, intubation is a process that can assist save their life. A laryngoscope is used to guide an endotracheal tube (ETT) into the mouth or nose, voice box, and subsequently the trachea. The tube maintains the airway’s openness, allowing air to reach the lungs. Intubation is frequently done in a hospital emergency room or before surgery.
Why would someone require intubation?
When your airway is obstructed or injured, or you can’t breathe on your own, intubation is required. The following are some of the most common conditions that might lead to intubation:
- Obstruction of the airway (something caught in the airway, blocking the flow of air).
- The arrest of the heart (sudden loss of heart function).
- A neck, abdomen, or chest injury or trauma that impairs the airway.
- A person can lose control of their airway if they lose awareness or have a low level of consciousness.
- You’ll need surgery since you won’t be able to breathe on your own.
- Apnea (breathing difficulty) or respiratory failure (a temporary stop in breathing).
- Aspiration danger (breathing in an object or substance such as food, vomit, or blood).
The manner of intubation differs depending on the cause for the intubation and whether it takes place in an operating room or an emergency.
- In the operating room or another controlled setting, a doctor will frequently employ anesthesia to sedate the patient. A laryngoscope will subsequently be inserted into the patient’s mouth to aid with the insertion of the flexible tubing.
- The doctor uses the laryngoscope to locate and prevent hurting sensitive tissues like the vocal cords. A tiny camera may be put to aid the doctor if they are having trouble seeing.
- Intubation is a procedure performed in the operating room to help a patient breathe while they are under anesthesia.
- After inserting the tube, the doctor will listen to the patient’s breathing to make sure it’s in the appropriate spot. A doctor normally connects the tube to a ventilator.
- Once the person is no longer having difficulty breathing, the doctor will remove the tube from the person’s neck.
- In an emergency, a healthcare worker may need to perform intubation to save a person’s life. It’s a useful procedure for airway management, and it came in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To ensure safe and effective intubation and avoid potential difficulties, emergency intubation often requires a well-thought-out plan, imaging scans to guide tube insertion, and team member duty assignment. You can rely on this source.
Who doesn’t need to be intubated?
In some situations, such as when there is serious trauma to the airway or an obstruction that prevents the tube from being placed safely, healthcare providers may conclude that intubation is not safe.
In such circumstances, your doctor may decide to open your airway surgically at the base of your neck through your throat. Tracheostomy is the medical term for this procedure. A tracheostomy is often required when an endotracheal tube is in place for more than a few days or is projected to be in place for weeks.
Is it possible to talk or eat while intubated?
You won’t be able to talk since the endotracheal tube will pass through your vocal cords.
You also can’t eat or drink when intubated because you can’t swallow. Your healthcare providers may give you sustenance through an IV or IV fluids, or by a separate slender tube inserted in your mouth or nose and ending in your stomach or small bowel, depending on how long you’ll be intubated.
What are the potential dangers of intubation?
Intubation is a routine and relatively safe technique that can save someone’s life. The majority of people recover in a few hours or days, although several unusual issues can occur:
- When someone is intubated, they may inhale vomit, blood, or other bodily fluids.
- Endobronchial intubation: The tracheal tube may be inserted into one of two bronchi, which connect the trachea to the lungs. Intubation of the mainstem is also known as mainstem intubation.
- If the tube enters your esophagus (food tube) instead of your trachea, it can cause brain damage or even death if it is not discovered quickly enough.
- Failure to secure the airway: If intubation fails, medical personnel may be unable to treat the patient.
- Infections: Intubated patients are more likely to develop infections, such as sinus infections.
- Injury to your mouth, teeth, tongue, vocal cords, or airway: The procedure has the potential to cause injury to your mouth, teeth, tongue, vocal cords, or airway. There may be bleeding or edema as a result of the injury.
- Problems after anesthesia: While most people recover quickly from anesthesia, some have difficulty waking up or experiencing medical issues.
- Tension pneumothorax occurs when the air becomes trapped in the chest cavity, causing the lungs to collapse.
Many people get a sore throat and have trouble swallowing right after intubation, but recovery is usually swift, taking anything from a few hours to several days depending on how long they were intubated.
However, if a person develops any of the symptoms listed below after their operation, they should contact their doctor right away because these could be signals of something more serious:
A severe painful throat, chest pain, trouble speaking or swallowing, shortness of breath, neck pain, and swelling of the face
The introduction of a tube into the airway through the mouth or nose to help to breathe, give an anesthetic or drugs, or bypass an obstruction is known as intubation.
When the tube is introduced into the mouth, it is called endotracheal intubation, and when the tube is fed through a nostril, it is called a nasogastric tube. Both procedures are essentially the same. After the tube is inserted into the windpipe, balloon anesthetics inflated at the tube’s end to keep it in place and prevent air from escaping.
Intubation carries some dangers, such as vomiting and inadvertent puncture, but in emergency cases and during surgery, the benefits often outweigh the risks.