ACTION STAT: Tracheostomy mucus plug

October 2004 
Volume 34  Number 10
Pages 88 - 88
  PDF Version Available!


  • What's the situation?

  • What's your assessment?

  • What must you do immediately?

  • What should be done later?


  • Figure. No caption a...

    RESPONDING TO THE call bell, you find Robert Worrall, 73, sitting up in bed with his hand over his tracheostomy tube and the tracheostomy mask lying on his chest. He's trying to cough and is gasping for air. You hear a crowing sound (stridor), indicating a partially occluded airway.

    Figure. No caption available. What's the situation?

    Mr. Worrall was transferred to the medical unit earlier today from the ICU following 2 weeks of treatment and mechanical ventilation for pneumonia. He needs frequent suctioning for copious and tenacious secretions, which he's too weak to clear himself. He has a tracheostomy mask delivering 40% humidified oxygen, but his oral fluid intake has been poor. When you ...

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