Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So we are getting a question from a reader who says, “How long do patients need to be sedated and in an induced coma after they had a tracheostomy?”
Now, what a great question to ask. And to give you the short version of it, the goal of a tracheostomy should be to minimize sedation and the induced coma. That’s exactly the goal of a tracheostomy. It’s not the only goal, but it’s one of the main goals of a tracheostomy to stop sedation and get patients out of an induced coma.
So what often happens preceding a tracheostomy is that, patients do not wake up after an induced coma, or if they do wake up, they’re agitated, they can’t tolerate the breathing tube, but by the same token, they’re not ready to be extubated and have the breathing tube removed just yet.
Therefore, the next step often is, to do a tracheostomy so sedation can be stopped and people can come out of an induced coma in their own time. What happens is when patients wake up with a breathing tube in their throat, that can be very, very uncomfortable, very painful. And therefore, they need to be re-sedated.
And once patients have a tracheostomy, they can be woken up, but tracheostomy doesn’t cause a lot of pain it’s very comfortable for most patients. Whilst it can be irritating and it can make patients cough, it’s nowhere near as uncomfortable as a breathing tube in the mouth.
Now next steps then are, once patients are out of an induced coma and have a tracheostomy, they can be slowly, sometimes even quickly moved or weaned off the ventilator. Again, that is the whole purpose of doing a tracheostomy.
Now preceding to that, you should also check out some articles and videos that we’ve done about, how long can a breathing tube or an endotracheal tube stay in? Or how long should someone be on a ventilator before having a tracheostomy?If you type those search terms into our website at intensivecarehotline.com, you will get relevant videos and blog posts about those topics.
That’s my quick tip for today.
If you have a loved one in intensive care, go to intensivecarehotline.com, call us on one of the numbers on the top of the website, or send us an email to [email protected].
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This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com, and I will talk to you in a few days.