Articles Posted in Endotrachial Intubation

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It is a medical procedure in which a tube is placed into the trachea to open the airway, remove blockages and to provide oxygen, medication or anesthesia. It may be attached to a machine called a respirator that will breathe for the patient while the tube is still in place. Airway control and mechanical ventilation are often necessary in the treatment of severe burn injuries.

Swelling in the upper airway is a major concern in any person with a burn injury. Swelling may lead to acute respiratory insufficiency, in children the airway is smaller therefore they are more prone to develop airway obstruction from burn. Swelling and damage to the airway may be caused by inhalation of the gases and fumes caused by combustion and/or the effect of heat on the tissue (see smoke inhalation). The extent of the damage to the airways is not directly related to the severity of skin burns and in some cases it may become the greatest therapeutic problem in a gravely burned patient.

Although obstruction of the upper airways caused by edema (swelling of the tissue) may happen acutely, it may not be present until the edema is sufficient enough to produce clinical evidence of impaired airway patency which may take 12-18 hours. Therefore it is important to monitor the patient for any difficulty in respiration even though the patient may not have any problems initially.

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In my previous post two days ago, I wrote about the need to be aware of fire hazards not just inside your home, but surrounding your home as well. The reason: Careless neighbors can cause a fire that spreads to where you live too. Such a situation nearly happened to me not long ago, and my neighbor almost got burned badly because she tried to put the fire she started rather than calling firefighters to let them do it.

Sure enough, a story appeared in a London newspaper the next day, January 17, about a British man there who did the same thing as my neighbor. Unfortunately, that man now has third-degree burns and smoke-inhalation injuries to his lungs that threaten his life. Here is part of that article:

“A man barely escaped with his life after an early-morning fire Monday in an apartment in London’s east end. The man was cooking and likely fell asleep, only to be woken up by his smoke detector. ‘He tried to put the fire out himself but sustained burns to his face, his forearms, and hands, plus he suffered some smoke inhalation,’ district chief Jeff Adams reported.”