Pediatric Tracheostomy and Ventilator Care

About this topic

Doctor with childWelcome to “The How and Why of Tracheostomies”. This lesson will focus on children with a tracheostomy due to obstructive abnormalities of the upper airway. There are several congenital or acquired causes of upper airway obstruction.  Other children have chronic aspiration leading to recurrent pneumonia. They  will need a cuffed tracheostomy to manage the aspiration.

The reason for a tracheostomy can affect the care that is needed by the child and will determine how long the tracheostomy is needed. Children who are very dependent on a tracheostomy due to an inadequate airway are at much higher risk for life threatening events.

All tracheostomy tubes have similar parts, but there are a variety of brands of tracheostomy tubes that may be used for children. The tube must fit in the growing, changing airway of the child and meet the child’s functional needs. Some of the more common brands, sizes and types of tubes will be presented.

Children may receive or have a tracheostomy at any age from infancy to adolescence. There are unique issues at every age and developmental stage. Therefore, the last part of this lesson will focus on issues related to caring for children at different developmental stages.

What you will learn

After you complete this section you will be able to do the following:

  • Discuss causes of airway obstruction that necessitate a tracheostomy.
  • Appreciate the variety of tracheostomy tubes that may be used by children
  • Consider how the child’s age and developmental status will affect the care that is needed.

Getting the most from this lesson

To learn more from this lesson we recommend that you approach it in the following way:

  • Read through the information on the home page. The concept viewers give you additional information about the underlined terms.
  • The lecture contains the primary content for the lesson.
  • Work through the learning activity to apply the information from the lecture.
  • You will be ready for the quiz after you have completed all components of the lesson.