trach tube
Tracheostomy Glossary

Aspiration: Inhalation of any foreign matter, such as food, drink, saliva, or stomach contents (as after vomiting) into the airway below the level of the vocal cords.

Cuff: An inflatable balloon-like structure that is shaped like a doughnut which wraps around the trach tube, preventing the leakage of air, especially during mechanical ventilation (see below)

Cuff Deflation: The act of removing air from the cuff of a tracheostomy tube.

Diaphragm: A thin, dome-shaped muscle, important in breathing. Separates stomach and chest cavities.

Endotracheal tube: A long, straight tube that connects to a ventilator and is placed in the throat, passing between the vocal cords (not to be confused with a tracheostomy tube)

Hub (15mm): The part of the tracheostomy tube that adapts to standard respiratory equipment, such as a ventilator.

Humidifier: a device that provides moisture to the air we breathe.

Larynx: A structure in the airway also known as the “voice box” that contains the vocal cords and also prevents food from entering the trachea during swallow

Lower Airway: That portion of the respiratory tract beginning at the larynx (voice box) and ending at the smallest units in the lungs.

Peak Inspiratory Pressure (PIP): A measurement of pressure in the lungs at the end of the inspiratory phase of ventilation. It is reflected on the airway pressure manometer of the ventilator.

Pilot Balloon: Plastic sack-like component connected to the inflation line and luer valve of the tracheostomy tube which allows for inflation and deflation of the cuff.

Closed Position “No Leak”: Design pertaining to the PMV. The PMV opens on inhalation and automatically closes at the end of inhalation. It remains closed without air leak during exhalation. This restores a closed respiratory system and a more normal breathing pattern to the PMV user.

Pulse Oximeter: Device which measures the oxygen saturation level of arterial blood when placed on finger, toe, or ear.

Secretions: Saliva and other materials that accumulate in the airway and are normally coughed up and spit out or swallowed in healthy people

Speaking Valve: A device that fits on the hub and directs air from the lungs, around the trach tube, and out the nose and mouth allowing for speech, swallow, smell, and more

Stoma: A generic medical term meaning “mouth” or “hole”

Suction: Removal of gas or fluid (secretions) by mechanical means.

Trachea: The part of the airway below the larynx and above the bronchi and lungs where a tracheostomy tube is placed

Tracheostomy: An artificial opening in the trachea that facilitates the passage of air and removal of secretions.

Tracheotomy: A procedure performed to create a hole in the trachea, located at the front of the neck, for breathing and ventilation

Mechanical Ventilator: A machine that pushes air into a patient’s lungs using ventilator tubing

Upper Airway: That portion of the respiratory tract beginning at the mouth and nose and ending at the larynx (voice box).