A tracheostomy is a small, surgical opening through the skin into the windpipe (trachea).
There are many reasons why children may need a tracheostomy. It might be to relieve severe breathing difficulties due to a blockage in the upper airway or if a child needs to be connected to a machine to help with their breathing.
Tracheostomised children have a high risk of respiratory infections. This is due to the naturally protective oral and nasal passages being bypassed, allowing microorganisms into the lower airways more easily. Also, the use of a tracheostomy tube can irritate the mucosa of the trachea, further increasing infection risk.
When breathing through the mouth and nose the upper airways humidify and filter the inhaled air. In this way, you can be sure the air is at the right body temperature and contains enough moisture when it reaches the lungs for them to function properly. A tracheostomy bypasses the upper airways, which means that the important humidification and filtration functions are mostly lost. The airways react by producing more and thicker mucus, which is more difficult to cough or suction out. Wearing an HME can help compensate for these lost functions.
Heat and Moisture Exchangers (HMEs) have been developed to compensate for the lost functions of your nose and help re-balance the “climate” in the lungs. An HME improves lung health by heating and moisturising the inhaled air. Continuous use of a Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) is known to reduce mucus production in the majority of neck breathers and helps to improve quality of life. A traditional HME humidifies the inhaled air, but does not filter effectively. Therefore it does not adequately prevent viruses, bacteria and other fine airborne particles from entering the airways.
XtraCare Mini is a new product that combines an HME with a highly effective filtration, which provides your child with protection against viruses, bacteria, pollen and other airborne particles.
Effective filtration of bacteria >99%*
Effective filtration of viruses >98%*