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Can blocked endo-tracheal tube after accident cause brain damage?

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Posted on Thu, 28 May 2015
Question: I visited my brother in ICU after he was admitted having sustained serious injuries in a motor car accident.
My brother is a big man 40 years of age weighs about 120 kilograms and is 6 foot 3 inches tall. he was semi-concious and very blue in the face and seemed to be struggling with his breathing and his eyelids will flickering as if he was struggling to satay awake. he had tubes going into his nose and moth and to me it sounded as if he was drownning! There was one Dr in the room the anaethetist who was mentoring some student nurses.I spoke to the Dr, who told me not to interrupt but I persisted and she relunctantly asked me what was wrong.. I pointed out my brother who was struggling to breathe and she acted immediately by removing the tubes and re-inserting them. I believe that she may have inserted the endo-tracheal tube into my brothers stomach and the Naso-gastric tube into my brothers lungs. My brother survived but ever since then he has not behaved normally and isa mentally disabled person. I would like your opinion if any brain damage could have occurred as a result of the mix up with the insertions of the above mentioned tubes?
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Answered by Dr. Sabiha Banu (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Could be due to hypoxic encephalopathic changes of the brain

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thanks for using HCM

Can understand your concern related with your brothers problem.

What you have observed, can be due to the blocked endo-tracheal tube due to secretions or decreased oxygen supply or an accidental mis-positioning/or partially extubated endo-tracheal tube which can be due to the excessive struggle of the patient in semi-concious state, RATHER than mix up of the tubes.
Blue colour in the face is due to hypoxia leading to cyanosis.

Hypoxia can lead to cyanosis, flickering movements of the eyelids,shortness of breath,even leading to loss of consciousness, seizures,temporary or permanent damage to the brain tissue,( depending on the duration).

In such cases what the anaesthetist, has done with re-insertion of the tubes is a perfect decision to prevent life threatening complications.

Mental disability & abnormal behaviour can be one of the reason for hypoxic encephalopathic changes of the brain, which can be confirmed with MRI Brain.

I would suggest you to go for a neurologist opinion & MRI brain for a confirmation of hypoxic brain damage.

Hoping for a speedy recovery & good health for your brother.

please get back to me with related doubts.

All the best, take care

thanks DR SABIHA BANU




Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Answered by
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Dr. Sabiha Banu

Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist

Practicing since :2000

Answered : 746 Questions

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Can blocked endo-tracheal tube after accident cause brain damage?

Brief Answer: Could be due to hypoxic encephalopathic changes of the brain Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for using HCM Can understand your concern related with your brothers problem. What you have observed, can be due to the blocked endo-tracheal tube due to secretions or decreased oxygen supply or an accidental mis-positioning/or partially extubated endo-tracheal tube which can be due to the excessive struggle of the patient in semi-concious state, RATHER than mix up of the tubes. Blue colour in the face is due to hypoxia leading to cyanosis. Hypoxia can lead to cyanosis, flickering movements of the eyelids,shortness of breath,even leading to loss of consciousness, seizures,temporary or permanent damage to the brain tissue,( depending on the duration). In such cases what the anaesthetist, has done with re-insertion of the tubes is a perfect decision to prevent life threatening complications. Mental disability & abnormal behaviour can be one of the reason for hypoxic encephalopathic changes of the brain, which can be confirmed with MRI Brain. I would suggest you to go for a neurologist opinion & MRI brain for a confirmation of hypoxic brain damage. Hoping for a speedy recovery & good health for your brother. please get back to me with related doubts. All the best, take care thanks DR SABIHA BANU