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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Advanced Emphysema and COPD Air Way Closed

10/21/2009

Question:

My mother in law was invloved in an accident smoking w/ oxygen. There was an explosion and a fire and she was in the smoldering home for at least 6 hours. This happened 6 days ago. Before the accident she was diagnosed w/ advanced emphysema and COPD. She is malnourished and weighs 73 lbs at 5` tall. She is ventailated still because her airway is swelled shut. They say if this tube comes out they will not be able to get another one in. What is the difference between respirator and being treached? What are the odds of recovery and if she recovers what is her life expectancy?

Answer:

A trach involves surgically creating a "hole" in the throat so that a tube can be inserted.  This tube is often used to connect to a respirator. 

This is in contrast to the other way that a patient is connected to a respirator - a tube in through the mouth (endotracheal tube).


It is impossible for us to give you any estimate of recovery or life expectancy not knowing how her lungs were before the incident and how much damage she sustained at the time of the explosion.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University