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Insertion of an Endotracheal Tube


  • An endotracheal (ET) tube is a hollow plastic tube that is placed in the trachea through the mouth. The trachea is a tube inside the body that goes from the throat to the lungs. The trachea is also called the windpipe or airway. The ET tube is attached to a machine called a respirator. A respirator gives a person oxygen (air), and breathes for him when he cannot breathe on his own.
    Proper Endotracheal Intubation
  • A person will need an ET tube if they are not able to breathe in enough oxygen for their body. This can occur if he has an injury, serious illness, or cardiac arrest (heart attack). An ET tube may also be used during surgery. Having an ET tube allows the patient to get the oxygen he needs, and allows the caregiver to treat the patient. Having an ET tube placed may save a person's life.



  • Keep a written list of the medicines the patient takes, the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list of his medicines or the pill bottles when he sees his caregivers. He should not take any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to caregivers.
  • The patient should always take his medicine as directed by caregivers. Call the patient's caregiver if he thinks his medicines are not helping or if he feels he is having side effects. The patient should not stop taking his medicines until he talks to his caregiver.

Ask the caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit:

The patient should keep all appointments. He should write down any questions he may have. This way the patient will remember to ask these questions during his next visit.


  • The patient has a fever.
  • The patient has had trouble speaking or a sore throat since his ET tube was removed.
  • The patient has new trouble swallowing.


  • The patient suddenly has trouble breathing.
  • The patient begins to coughs up blood.
  • The patient has black, tarry stools.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.