In medicine, extubation is the removal of a ventilation tube ( endotracheal tube ). It usually takes place when the patient has his own breathing drive and a stable circulation and the pulmonary gas exchange is not disturbed. The absolute contraindication to extubation is the absence of coughing or swallowing reflexes , as these can lead to aspiration with the risk of lung failure ( ARDS ).
The typical endotracheal tubes have a small balloon (cuff) at their tip, which is deflated ("unblocked") before extubation. The cuff is used to "block" the windpipe during the ventilation phase and thus prevent aspiration.
To avoid reintubation (re-intubation), which is necessary if spontaneous breathing is inadequate, it is possible to use a non-invasive form of ventilation .
See also: intubation
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