Updated 7 November 2014
Many trainees find the idea of managing tracheostomy emergencies discomforting. I think this is because structured approaches to these situations are not frequently taught, and the problems aren’t commonly encountered (or they are sorted out by a super awesome ICU Liaison nurse before anyone else even realises!).
Tracheostomy emergencies can be life-threatening, but can often be simply and rapidly fixed if you know what to do. One day, sooner or later, there will come a time where what happens will be down to you.
Do you know what to do?
At The Alfred ICU we have teaching on Airway and Bronchoscopy every Thursday morning at 0730h for an hour. For the next two weeks we are focusing on tracheostomy emergencies. These sessions are concerned with the problems that can arise in patients who already have a tracheostomy tube in place, rather than issues that can occur during insertion.
Here are some resources that will get you started in your quest to master the ‘tracheostomy emergency’:
Other free online resources: