A tracheostomy was inserted into a patient with COPD to relieve airway obstruction. The nurse knows that the patient is at greater risk for ineffective airway clearance if:

The patient has thick secretions.
The physician places the patient on a sedative drug.


•Thick secretions can impair the patient's ability to clear the airway, putting them at risk for hypoxia.

•Sedative drugs decrease the patient's alertness and ability to clear secretions.

•Bronchovesicular lung sounds are normal when heard between the 1st and 2nd intercostal spaces.

•Attempting to cough through the tracheostomy tube is beneficial and will help clear the lungs of secretions.

•Deep suctioning by the patient or nurse helps to maintain patency of the tracheostomy by clearing secretions.

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