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Tracheostomy (trach) glossary


Adapter (Connector) – the outside edge of the tube where equipment can be connected if needed
Resuscitation bag
– device used to pump air into the lungs by hand (without a machine)
Artificial airway
– another word for tracheostomy (trach) tube
Artificial nose
– a device that warms and moistens the air that your child breathes in through the trach tube
– Germs that grow and can cause infection
Cannula Inner
– a tube within the trach tube; it can be removed for cleaning
Cannula Outer – the tube that sits in the child’s airway; all trach tubes have an outer cannula
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) – a method for getting someone to start breathing again when they have stopped breathing
Cuff – the inflatable balloon on some trach tubes
Cuffed tube – trach tube with a balloon on the outer cannula
Flange – the part of the trach tube that rests against your child’s neck; the flange contains information about the tube such as the brand name and size
Heat moisture exchanger – warms up air temperature, adds humidity and also filters the air
Humid-vent – a barrier that the patient breathes through to filter the air
Larynx – sometimes called the “voice box,” it protects the trachea and is involved in producing sound
Medical supply company – the company where you get medical equipment, sometimes called durable medical equipment (DME)
Mucus – the thick fluid that that comes out of the trach tube
Obturator – the semi-rigid stick you put into the trach tube to help guide it into the opening of the neck
Oxygen tank – a portable storage unit for oxygen
Passy-Muir – a one-way valve that lets air come in through the trach tube but then sends it out past the vocal cords and mouth to make talking possible
Pulse oximeter – medical device that indirectly measures the oxygen saturation (percent of oxygen) in a person’s blood
Saline – salty solution similar to water found in the body
Speech therapist (ST) – a person trained to help people with speaking and swallowing problems
Sterile – free from germs
Sterile water – water that is sterilized (free from germs)
Suction – the act of removing mucus from the airway
Trach stoma – the surgical opening in your child’s neck into which the trach is placed; this is where your child will inhale and exhale air from the lungs
Trachea – sometimes called “the wind pipe;” it is a bony tube that connects the mouth and nose to the lungs
Tracheostomy – the creation of a surgical opening in the neck to make breathing easier
Tracheostomy tube (trach tube) – the tube inserted into the stoma to keep the stoma open; your child will breathe through the trach tube
Ventilator – a machine that will do the work of breathing; a ventilator is used when your child cannot breathe on his own or when he needs some help to breathe
Vocal Cords – two strips of tissue in the voice box of the neck; the strips vibrate to make sounds when we talk


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).