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Endotracheal Intubation

Endotracheal intubation is the insertion of a soft rubber or plastic tube (endotracheal, or ET, tube) through the nose or mouth into the windpipe (trachea). It is done to deliver oxygen or inhaled anesthetics into the lungs.

Intubation frequently is used with general anesthesia to help control breathing during surgery. It also may provide assistance (mechanical ventilation) to persons who are having difficulty breathing on their own.

Serious complications from endotracheal intubation are rare. Minor problems, such as tooth damage, sore throat, and hoarseness, may occur.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn M. Freedman, MD, MD - Anesthesiology
Last RevisedSeptember 30, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 30, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.