Major Complication In Tracheostomy & Can You Talk After A Tracheostomy Is Removed?

Continuous education classes and regular drills can help you manage the difficult complications of suctioning that include hypoxia, airway trauma, psychological trauma, pain, and infections.1

The probabilities of complications are often dependent on your age and your general health, also, a planned tracheostomy procedure can indeed lower the risk of complications.2

Major Complication In Tracheostomy

Usually, a planned tracheostomy does not bring in complications, unlike an emergency tracheostomy. Some of the early complications that can occur after the initial procedures include:

Bleeding- Hemorrhage after tracheostomy is fortunately rare but can happen when the blood vessels are eroded or due to slippage of a ligature. When there is bleeding apply direct pressure, with or without hemostatic dressings. Brachiocephalic artery bleeding is a deadly complication after tracheostomy.

Collapsed Lung- Blood and air that enters the pleural space can lead to a collapsed lung. Due to lung collapse, you cough blood which pushes the tracheostomy tube to come out and there will be bleeding in the bandage. The symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath which can be life-threatening.1

Accidental Injury – In some instances, the windpipe controlling the voice box gets accidentally damaged causing difficulties with speaking and swallowing.

Infection- There can be a bacterial infection at times around the tracheostomy tube due to various reasons.

  • The friction causes the tube to move too much.
  • Pressure from the tube.
  • But these infections can be treated through appropriate medicines.

However, some of the complications can occur days, weeks, or even months after this surgical procedure.

Problems With Healing- In some cases, the tracheostomy wound would not heal as anticipated and start developing infection and bleeding. If this happens, your healthcare team would remove the tube and focus to stop the bleeding.

Obstruction In The Tracheostomy Tube- Not all patients have the same level of health condition and have the ability to clear the airway by coughing. When they are unable to do this, the tracheostomy tube gradually gets blocked with mucus and fluids.

The Trachea Collapse- Some patients don’t possess a strong windpipe wall to support that eventually causes the windpipe to collapse. This happens when the tracheostomy tube is not fitted properly.

The trachea becomes narrowed with breathing difficulties when the airways are scarred and narrowed.2

Can You Talk After A Tracheostomy Is Removed?

Tracheostomy procedure is primarily associated with aiding breathing however patients have a common question regarding their ability to speak. Perhaps, many patients have a daunting experience with speech.

Speech becomes a challenge after tracheostomy, this is because oxygen-rich air is no longer passing through the voice box. In most cases when the tubing is covered, vocalization can easily be achieved however you need to discuss with health officials your problems. But when you face potential problems with speech, a speech pathologist or critical care nurses perform as part of an interdisciplinary unit that comprises respirational analysts, speech pathologists, advanced training nurses, and doctors can help.3,4

Most patients find talking is a challenge after the tracheostomy because the air is no longer passing through the vocal cord however speech pathologist can help with your problem.

Not all complications of tracheostomy occur spontaneously, some can be delayed and even some of them can happen later in their lifespan. Although tracheostomy is a safe and straightforward procedure, yet the likelihood of complications occurs due to the below reasons:

  • The patient’s age and health condition
  • The purpose for the requirement of tracheostomy

References:

  1. Molnar, Heather. “Complications and Risks of Tracheostomy.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland, 12 June 2017, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/tracheostomy/about/complications.html
  2. Nickson, Chris. “Tracheostomy Complications • LITFL • CCC Airway.” Life in the Fast Lane • LITFL • Medical Blog, 3 Nov. 2020, litfl.com/tracheostomy-complications/.
  3. “Tracheostomy.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/tracheostomy
  4. G., Jacky. “Regaining Speech After a Tracheotomy.” Speech Buddies Blog: Speech, Language & Pronunciation Guides, 18 Feb. 2015, www.speechbuddy.com/blog/speech-therapy-techniques/regaining-speech-after-a-tracheotomy/.

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