This page is dedicated to covering the radiological appearance of a tracheostomy tube. Look here for more radiological findings.
WHAT IS IT?
A tracheostomy tube is a breathing tube used in patients who have an airway obstruction at or above the level of the larynx, patients requiring long term intubation, as well as a few other clinical scenarios.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON IMAGING
Often the proper placement of the tracheostomy tube can be assessed on a chest X-ray:
- Tip location: the tip of the tracheostomy tube should be halfway between the stoma (where the tube was inserted) and the carina. This is usually the level of T3. Unlike a endotracheal tube, neck flexion will not alter the location of tube’s tip.
- Inflation of the cuff: the inflated cuff of the tube should NOT distend the lumen of the trachea.
ISSUES WITH TUBE PLACEMENT
Sometimes the improper placement of a tracheostomy tube can be appreciated on a chest X-ray. Here is what to look out for:
Tracheal stenosis: this is a common long term complication with this tube’s placement.
Page Updated: 01.08.2016