What is a Tracheostomy?

A tracheostomy is an incision that is made through the neck into the airway or windpipe (trachea). The hole is called a stoma. A tracheostomy tube is a curved tube that is placed into the stoma to keep the stoma open, making it easier to care for. It sometimes connects to a ventilator. Many people use the word trach when they talk about a trach tube.

A tracheostomy is not done often. Less than one percent of all children who are admitted to a hospital will need a tracheostomy. Most trach tubes are placed in the first year of life for long term ventilation or because of a very narrow airway. Older children may need a trach tube for upper airway obstruction or for ventilation related to muscular dystrophy. Teens most often need a tracheostomy after a traumatic event such as a car accident.

Research shows that hospitals with the most experience caring for pediatric trach patients do it best. The rate of death in children's hospitals was half that of patients who had trachs placed in non-children's facilities.

Phoenix Children's Hospital's special Trach and Airway Program is the only one in Arizona.

To download the Phoenix Children's Hospital Airway Floor Fact Sheet, click here.

More information

Airway with Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

Airways - English | Spanish

Breathing and Speech with a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

CPR for a Child with a Tracheostomy: 1 year to 8 years of age - English | Spanish

CPR for a Person Over 70 Pounds with a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

CPR for an Infant with a Tracheostomy under 1 year old - English | Spanish

Emergency Information for the Child with a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

Home Care of Your Child's T-Tube - EnglishSpanish

How to Care for a Tracheostomy Stoma - English | Spanish

How to Change a Tracheostomy Tube - English | Spanish

How to Clean a Nebulizer - English | Spanish

How to Collect a Trach Culture - English | Spanish

How to Help Your Child with a Trach - English | Spanish

How to Make Sterile Water and Sterile Saline - English | Spanish

How to Suction Your Child's Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

How to Travel with a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

How to Use a DeLee Suction Trap - English | Spanish

Mucus and Your Child's Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

Nesting With a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

Safety Tips for a Tracheostomy - English | Spanish

Sign Language Resources - English

Tracheostomy Speaking Valve - English | Spanish

Trach Tubes and Suction Catheters - English | Spanish

Using Oxygen at Home - EnglishSpanish

Visit these websites for more information:

Aaron's Page -

Muscular Dystrophy Association -

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