TRANS-TRACHEAL OXYGEN THERAPY: While oxygen therapy through a nasal cannula has been used successfully for decades, there have been cases of nasal prongs falling off during sleep, and many patients complain of discomfort around the nose and ears. A new supplemental oxygen system circumvents those issues by delivering oxygen directly through the trachea rather than through the nostrils. Research shows the system, called trans-tracheal oxygen therapy (TTOT), allows patients to be more active. This is because delivery through the trachea avoids the "dead space" of the nose, mouth and upper part of the trachea. The system also reduces oxygen flow requirements by 30 to 50 percent. That means oxygen sources last about twice as long as traditional oxygen therapy. One study shows patients on TTOT lived significantly longer than similar patients who used oxygen delivered through a nasal cannula. A major benefit for patients is improved self confidence, since they can wear the catheter on a necklace or hidden with a scarf and tubes are hidden under clothing.
To implant the TTOT system, surgeons make an incision in the neck and place a stent in. The next morning, the stent is removed and a catheter replaces it. Because this method of oxygen delivery requires surgery, there is a risk of bleeding in the neck and infection. There is also a risk of mucus buildup on the implanted catheter. Patients may experience pain shortly after the procedure. Patients who require a high amount of oxygen may not be candidates for TTOT since the catheter used to deliver oxygen is small.
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