Intubation

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Intubation is a medical procedure that inserts a tube down your throat. This procedure is often referred to as endotracheal intubation due to the insertion of a tube through the mouth or nose. 

Purposes of Intubation

Intubation is performed to help a patient breathe during sedation, surgery, or when having difficulty breathing. This procedure is usually performed for patients who are unconscious or have difficulty breathing by keeping the patient’s airway open to keep the oxygen in. 

Intubation is also carried out to help medicines enter the patient’s body, make it easier for doctors to see the upper respiratory tract, and prevent any unwanted objects from entering the lungs such as food, stomach acid, and saliva when the patient is not in a conscious state. 

However, intubation cannot be performed in certain conditions – such as when patients cannot open their mouths, patients with severe neck injuries, completely obstructed airways, and airway disease.

Cost Estimation for Intubation

The cost for endotracheal intubation procedure varies — depending on the selected hospital.

For more details regarding the cost estimation for endotracheal intubation, contact Smarter Health.

Pre-Intubation

Prior to the intubation procedure, your doctor will perform an airway assessment. This assessment will help your doctor gauge ​​the possibility of blocking the intubation so that it will be done properly.

Then, your doctor will identify the size of your throat in order to determine the appropriate endotracheal tube size. All the vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart condition will also be monitored through the monitor.

During Intubation

First, your doctor will give you muscle relaxants and anesthesia to facilitate the intubation process. Then, you will be asked to lie down and your doctor will insert a device (laryngoscope) used to examine the throat through your mouth. The inserted laryngoscope opens the airway and allows the doctor to see the vocal cords.

Then, a flexible endotracheal tube is inserted into the windpipe or trachea. Given the different sizes of the throat, the size of the intubation tube also varies from patient to patient. 

In cases where it is difficult for the doctor to insert the tube through the mouth, a special tube will be inserted through the nose into the respiratory tract. After that, the endotracheal tube that has been connected to a breathing apparatus (ventilator) or a bag valve mask, will push oxygen into the lungs.

To ensure the endotracheal tube is in place, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen for breath sounds in both lungs and see if you are breathing. If necessary, X-rays may also be performed.

Post-Intubation

Intubation procedure may cause sore throat or some difficulty swallowing. However, once the endotracheal tube is removed, the complication should be resolved within a few days.

If you still experience difficulty swallowing after several days, or even experience other complications such as difficulty speaking, shortness of breath, chronic sore throat, chest pain, and facial swelling – then you must seek immediate care.

Risks of Intubation

Intubation is a vital medical procedure as it provides breathing support. However, intubation comes with its own risks, such as: 

  • Sore throat.
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia.
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Infection and inflammation of lung tissue
  • Buildup of too much fluid in organs or tissues
  • Psychological complications such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Puncture or tearing of body parts in the chest cavity, leading to lung collapse
  • Inability to breathe normally and may make the patient ventilator-dependent 
  • Erosion of soft tissue (with prolonged intubation)
  • Bleeding or injury to the mouth, tongue, teeth, vocal cords, and windpipe.
  • Endotracheal tube dislocation

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