TRACHEA, THE, is sufficiently described in the article RESPIRATION. We have here only to notice those affections of this tube which require surgical or medical aid.
_Foreign bodies occasionally pass through the larynx into the trachea. In cases of this kind, the patient who has had some foreign substance in his mouth which is supposed to have been swallowed, is seized with a convulsive cough, threatening suffocation, but subsiding after a time. The symptoms that then ensue vary with the weight and figure of the substance, and according as it is fixed or movable. A large and very irregular body may be impacted in the trachea, and may thus more less obstruct the respiration on both sides of the chest; and this obstruction will probably soon be increased by the inflammatory products that are excited. A small heavy body will usually pass through the trachea into one of the bronchi (usually the right), or into one of its branches, obstructing respiration to a less extent.
" if the foreign body be allowed to remain, the progress of the symptoms presents much variety in different eases. Death may occur from spasm of the glottis, or, the foreign body being propelled upward into the rima, death may take place by its mechanically preventing the passage of air, or rupture of one of the cerebral blood-ves sels may be produced during one of the fits of coughing. At a later period the lungs may become congested and emphysematous, or bronchitis, pneumonia, or pleurisy may supervene."óGray's article on " Injuries of the Neck," in Holmes's System. of Surgery,
vol. ii. p. 306. Although inversion of the body, together with succussion and lateral movement of the larynx. has in some few eases been successful, it is now deemed advisa ble by the highest authorities to precede the attempt at removal by making an artificial opening into the windpipe. A free aperture is thus secured for respiration, spasm of the glottis is prevented, and the foreign body is commonly expelled through the artificial opening, or falls through the glottis into the mouth.
Rupture of the Trachea from external injury occasionally happens, and generally proves fatal in consequence of the rapid and extensive emphysema which usually ensues. It is too rare an accident to require a more special notice.
Wounds of the Trachea are sufficiently described in the article THROAT. With the exception of croup (q.v.), there is no special disease of the trachea; and indeed in croup the trachea is seldom exclusively affected. Hence the term tracheias, used by some nosologists as synonymcus with croup, is hardly warrantable. Similarly, in more advanced life, the trachea is doubtless often the seat of inflammation, but never the special and exclusive seat, and both the symptoms and treatment merge into those of bronchitis or laryngitis.