My husband is recovering from bacterial meningitis. His kidneys shut down and is receiving dialysis. He was given a vent down this throat. When this became infected, they put in a trach tube. They have been trying to wean him off the ventilation and he will go a few hours off but will breathe rapidly and be put on again. He has had an accumulation of fluid in in lungs due to a leaky trach which had not been changed since it was put in. They changed it and put in a chect tube to drain the fluid. My question is have people been sucessfully weaned from this trach tube? Does it have something to do with the oxygen being cold? He has been in the hospital for ten weeks. He just woke up from the "sedation coma" as I call it and is responding to people, shaking his head, mouthing some words. I am very worried and very stressed out about this. Thank you
Sorry to hear about what you and your husband must be going through with his terrible illness. Meticulous hygienic care of a tracheostomy tube, including frequent replacement is of the utmost importance to the prevention/treatment of local infection. I assume that your mention of “a vent down his throat” refers to an endotracheal tube. It would be unusual for him to have an accumulation of fluid in his chest requiring chest tube drainage, on the basis of a “leaky trach.” You might want to clarify this with his doctors regarding the actual cause and ask for information about the characteristics of the fluid that was drained and how they plan to prevent further fluid accumulation. I very much doubt that it has anything to do with “the oxygen being cold.”
Weaning from respiratory support can be a complicated process, requiring great attention to detail, best managed by a lung specialist (pulmonologist) who has had extensive experience in managing assisted ventilation under a great variety of circumstances. Ten weeks in the hospital is a long time, an indication of the severity of your husband’s illness. I suggest that you request a second opinion from a respiratory specialist, one independent of those currently providing his care. You might approach this by asking those pulmonologists for the name of the most highly esteemed pulmonary specialist in your community, ideally one with a special interest in critical care respiratory conditions and ask that they arrange for a second opinion from that specialist. Do not be concerned that your request might cause “hard feelings.” Your husband’s life is at stake and you, with the support of family members, should feel free to make any request that might potentially contribute to his recovery.
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