Intubation and Mechanical Ventilation
DefinitionIntubation and mechanical ventilation is the use of a tube and a machine to help get air into and out of your lungs. This is often done in emergencies, but it can also be done when you are having surgery.
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Reasons for ProcedureYour lungs help exchange gases in your body. Oxygen is moved from the air in your lungs into your blood, and carbon dioxide in your blood moves into the air in your lungs. This movement of gases is needed to live. If you cannot move air into and out of your lungs, then this gas exchange cannot happen. Intubation and mechanical ventilation is done to help you breathe when you cannot move enough air in and out on your own.
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Damage to teeth, lips, or tongue
- Damage to the trachea or larynx resulting in pain, hoarseness, or difficulty breathing after the tube is removed
- Esophageal intubation—when the tube is accidentally inserted into the esophagus and stomach rather than the trachea
- Low blood pressure
- Too little or too much ventilation
- Lung injury/collasped lung
- Neck or cervical spine injury
- Pre-existing lung disease, such as emphysema
- Poor condition of teeth
- Recent meal
- Diseases that cause muscle weakness, such as myasthenia gravis