Intubation and Mechanical Ventilation
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Reasons for Procedure
- Damage to teeth, lips, or tongue
- Damage to the trachea or larynx resulting in pain, hoarseness, or difficulty breathing after the tube is removed
- Esophageal intubation—when the tube is accidentally inserted into the esophagus and stomach rather than the trachea
- Low blood pressure
- Lung injury/collasped lung
- Neck or cervical spine injury
- Pre-existing lung disease such as emphysema
- Poor condition of teeth
- Recent meal
- Diseases that cause muscle weakness such as myasthenia gravis
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- Ask your doctor about any other special directions.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
- Listen to your lungs to make sure that the air is going into them
- Do a chest x-ray to make sure the tip of the tube is positioned in the middle of your trachea
- Measure the level of gases in your blood to make sure that the ventilation is working
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Be breathing on your own through the tube, without the ventilator attached. You may only be partially awake during this time.
Have made progress in:
- How often you take a breath
- How well oxygen is getting into your blood
- How much air you breathe in and out each time you take a breath
- If you need mechanical ventilation for more than a few weeks, a tracheotomy may be done. In this case, the airway tube is inserted through a hole made in your neck instead of your mouth or nose.
Call Your Doctor
- Difficulty breathing
- Signs of infection, like fever or chills
- Breathing in your food or drink
- Musical sounds when you breathe, known as stridor
American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org
The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Mechanical ventilation. Anaesthesia & Intensive Care website. Available at: http://www.aic.cuhk.edu.hk/web8/mech%20vent%20intro.htm . Accessed May 29, 2013.
Mechanical ventilator. American Thoracic Society website. Available at: http://www.thoracic.org/clinical/critical-care../patient-information/icu-devices-and-procedures/mechanical-ventilator.php . Accessed May 29, 2013.
What is a ventilator? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vent/ . Updated February 1, 2011. Accessed May 29, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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