The uses of tracheostomy, which are well defined as regards upper respiratory disease, were investigated in 17 patients with such lower respiratory diseases as emphysema, pneumonitis, bronchitis, and lung abscess. Tracheostomy made it easier to assist respiration mechanically, to give oxygen, to aspirate secretions, and to administer bronchodilator drugs as aerosols. Determinations of the pH of the whole blood and the degree of oxygen saturation of the arterial blood gave objective evidence of improvement in addition to the clinical criteria. Seven patients died although many of them showed temporary benefits; nine experienced more lasting improvement, and one recovered. Two case histories illustrate the striking improvement and the definite prolongation of life occasionally obtained. The tracheostomy was usually maintained for 10 to 14 days and then removed.
Smith JR, Webb WR. USE OF TRACHEOSTOMY IN LOWER RESPIRATORY TRACT DISEASE. JAMA. 1960;173(8):891–895. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020260031008
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