Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Does the trach cause secretions?
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Does the trach cause secretions?

My husband has had a trach (#6 Shiley, unfenestrated) for one and a half years.  He has a strong cough and coughs out most of his secretions.  He sometimes requires suctioning once a day to remove excess secretions.  About every six weeks, he develops a respiratory infection and must be admitted to the hospital.  I have been told by a few respiratory therapists that the trach, which is a foreign object inside my husband, is causing most of the secretions.  It is the body's way of dealing with a foreign object.  I want the trach removed so we can cut down on the secretions and give my husband relief from the coughing and respiratory infections.  Do you agree that the trach may be the cause of what is called "copius mucus"?
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Yes, the presence of a tracheostomy tube, in this instance the #6 Shiley can stimulate excessive secretions that are usually easily handled with minimal suctioning.  If it is necessary to maintain the tracheostomy site, for suctioning or ventilatory assistance, other devices such as tracheostomy plugs can be used for this purpose.  You have not indicated why your husband requires the trach tube and that would be important to any decision to remove it.  I suggest that you contact his respiratory physician and pose your question about the feasibility of trach tube removal and if any untoward consequences might follow its removal.  The other question would be, if he has “a strong cough and coughs out most of his secretions” why the need for suctioning?  Suctioning, itself, can especially when performed frequently can irritate the trachea and cause an increase in secretions.

You might also ask that the respiratory therapist speak with your husband’s doctor, to make the case for tube removal.

Good  luck
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