Tracheostomies can be broadly grouped as emergency or planned surgeries: An emergency tracheostomy is performed when there is severe upper respiratory tract obstruction. Situations demanding an emergency tracheostomy typically occur with little advance warning and sometimes must be performed under less than optimal conditions-such as in an unstable patient in severe respiratory distress, at cage-side or in the critical care unit, and with inadequate patient preparation.
Planned tracheostomies provide an airway for patients before diagnostic or surgical procedures of the upper airway or oral cavity, most typically in situations where there is potential for severe airway obstruction or when an alternative to orotracheal intubation is needed. Planned tracheostomies are performed under controlled, aseptic conditions. They offer the clinician an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the procedure in a calm, minimally stressful environment.
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