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Respir Care. 2014 Jun;59(6):956-71; discussion 971-3. doi: 10.4187/respcare.02920.

Tracheostomy tubes.

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Respiratory Care Department, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Respiratory Care Department, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Tracheostomy tubes are used to administer positive-pressure ventilation, to provide a patent airway, and to provide access to the lower respiratory tract for airway clearance. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles from several manufacturers. The dimensions of tracheostomy tubes are given by their inner diameter, outer diameter, length, and curvature. Differences in dimensions between tubes with the same inner diameter from different manufacturers are not commonly appreciated but may have important clinical implications. Tracheostomy tubes can be cuffed or uncuffed and may be fenestrated. Some tracheostomy tubes are designed with an inner cannula. It is important for clinicians caring for patients with a tracheostomy tube to appreciate the nuances of various tracheostomy tube designs and to select a tube that appropriately fits the patient. The optimal frequency of changing a chronic tracheostomy tube is controversial. Specialized teams may be useful in managing patients with a tracheostomy. Speech can be facilitated with a speaking valve in patients with a tracheostomy tube who are breathing spontaneously. In mechanically ventilated patients with a tracheostomy, a talking tracheostomy tube, a deflated cuff technique with a speaking valve, or a deflated cuff technique without a speaking valve can be used to facilitate speech.


airway management; decannulation; fenestrated tracheostomy tube; inner cannula; speaking valve; tracheostomy button; tracheostomy team; tracheostomy tube

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