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After a life-threatening illness including weeks in an ICU on a ventilator (breathing tube involved), this person underwent tracheotomy. Here, the old breathing tube injury of the vocal cords is clearly seen and explains a very hoarse voice. Arrows point out divots of tissue loss from pressure necrosis. Dotted lines indicate where the margins of the vocal cords would be if uninjured.
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Viewing from barely below the vocal cords, the white tracheotomy tube enters the airway in the distance, and a synechia (s) and lateral scarring (sc) are seen in the foreground.
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Viewing from deeper into the subglottis while the patient exhales with trach tube plugged, there is “blow-by” dark room around the #6 tracheotomy tube. The diagonal line, upper right, indicates junction between membranous (M) and cartilaginous (C) trachea.
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When she inhales with tracheotomy tube plugged, the walls of the trachea collapse inward, and the patient cannot fill her lungs. Most noteworthy is the indrawing of the cartilaginous wall (arrow at C). Tracheal narrowing for exhalation can be managed with expiratory straw breathing. Collapse of this magnitude during inspiration implies the need for repair (resection of the bad segment and re-anastomosis).