Question

Mr. Alvarez bumped a bee's nest while making repairs on his roof. Not surprisingly, he was promptly stung several times. Because he knew he was allergic to bee stings, he rushed to the hospital. While waiting, he went into a state of shock and had extreme difficulty breathing. Examination showed his larynx to be edematous, and a tracheostomy was performed. Why is edema of the larynx likely to obstruct the airway? What is a tracheostomy, and what purpose does it serve?

Solution

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Edematous tissues trap fluids more than normal. When edema affects the larynx, it will be congested with fluids and at some degree obstruction of the airways will occur.

Tracheostomy\textbf{\textit{Tracheostomy}} is the surgical opening of the trachea. It is done in cases of obstructed breathing to provide an alternative route for air to reach the lungs.

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