A mechanical ventilator is a machine that helps your lungs work when it is hard for you to breathe on your own. This can happen during surgery or a critical illness. In an intensive care unit,ilators are used.

A ventilator keeps your body going by pushing air in and out of your lungs to make sure you receive enough oxygen. It’s connected to your body through a hollow tube, called an endotracheal tube (ETT), that’s inserted into your mouth (or sometimes nose). The ETT then goes inside your windpipe, or trachea, the main airway of the lungs.

To begin mechanical ventilation, you will be put under general anesthesia. Then, doctors will place the ETT into your mouth and snake it into the trachea. This is called intubation.

Extubation is the process of ETT removal.

“What happens after extubation? Is there any risk from this procedure? Let’s answer some questions about extubation.”

Extubation is performed as soon as you’re able to breathe on your own, which for example, could be when you wake up from general anesthesia used during surgery. This is because the ETT is uncomfortable, and you don’t need it if you can breathe on your own. Your doctor will most likely start planning extubation as early as the first day of intubation.

First, the doctor will ensure that you can breathe on your own without the ETT. To do this, they’ll test to make sure your lungs get enough oxygen with each breath. This is called a spontaneous breathing test.

“Doctors will check your breathing reflexes to make sure they are able to protect your lungs from food or other debris. In case of an emergency surgery, you may still have food in your stomach, so it’s important to have this.”

Once they confirm that it’s safe for you to breathe on your own, they will remove the ETT from your trachea. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. The bed will be elevated. Hospital beds have a control.
  2. Medical professionals will remove mucus from your mouth.
  3. The tube will be secured with tape, straps, or other tools.
  4. The tube will be disconnected.
  5. The next step is ETT removal. Your doctor will ask you to take a deep breath. They will deflate a small holder used to keep the ETT in place and gently remove it from your mouth and trachea while you are exhaling.
  6. After the ETT is removed, your doctor will want you to take a deep breath and cough out any mucus in your lungs.

Weaning failure

“If you can’t pass the breathing test, you’ll be doomed. Doctors can’t begin extubation because they don’t know if you can breathe on your own. People need to have several breathing tests before they can be extubated. If you fail a breathing test, your doctors will try to find out what the underlying issue is and give you another test.”

Immediately after extubation, your doctor will put you on supplemental oxygen to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen with your breaths. It usually comes in an oxygen mask or a nasal cannula.

Doctors will ask you to cough and take deep breaths to clear the mucus. They can also perform some additional cleaning of the mucus in your mouth and trachea.

Your medical team will be on your case in the next few hours to make sure you are doing well after extubation.

You will most likely be asked to sit upright and start walking.

After doctors confirm that you are ready to eat on your own, you will get your first meal.

There are some risks associated with extubation.

Extubation failure

Extubation failure happens when you need to be intubated again. Usually, it happens within 72 hours after extubation. Extubation failure is not very frequent — it happens in 12 to 14 percent of planned extubations. It’s more common in people over 65 and in those with severe heart or lung diseases. Using BPAP machines (a form of noninvasive ventilation) right after extubation may help avoid extubation failure.

Noisy breathing or sore throat

It is possible to have a sore throat after the removal of the ventilator tube.

The other complications of extubation are not very common.

The removal of the tube from your lungs is called extubation. It is done when mechanical ventilation is no longer needed. Doctors will do it as soon as they are sure you have enough oxygen.

“Doctors will give you a breathing test to make sure you are ready for extubation. The process of extubation is very simple and doesn’t require anesthesia. Supplemental oxygen may be available after extubation.”

There are risks fromtubation. Extubation failure and noisy breathing are the most common. There are ways to decrease the risks, and your medical team will make sure that the extubation is done in a safe way.