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The respiratory therapist plays an integral role in tracheostomy tube decannulation. Removal of the tracheostomy tube should be considered only if the original upper-airway obstruction is resolved, if airway secretions are controlled, and if mechanical ventilation is no longer needed. Predictors of success include ability to produce a vigorous cough and the absence of aspiration. Tracheostomy decannulation requires caution, particularly following a prolonged period of tracheostomy use. The tracheostomy tube decannulation process is well suited for therapist-implemented protocols.
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Kent L Christopher MD RRT presented a version of this paper at the 20th Annual New Horizons Symposium at the 50th International Respiratory Congress, held December 4–7, 2004, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Copyright © 2005 by Daedalus Enterprises Inc.