Making Life Better with Hayek

Improving a patient’s life with BCV and avoiding a tracheostomy.

Tracheostomy is one of the most common intensive care unit procedures performed. There are serious risks, long-term and acute when placing a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy will seriously negatively effect a persons quality of life.

Disadvantages of tracheostomy:

  • It is a surgical procedure and hence has morbidity and mortality rates associated with surgical procedures.
  • The tracheostomy tube will have to be cleaned periodically.
  • During early phases, periodical suction must be applied hence hospital support is a must.
  • The patient may not be able to use the voice.
  • Decanulation or removal of the tracheostomy is a complicated procedure.

Complications of tracheostomy:

  • Injury to thyroid area causing troublesome bleeding.
  • May cause extensive bleeding and possible injury to recurrent laryngeal nerve.
  • Injury to the apex of the lung.
  • Sudden apnea when the trachea is opened, due to loss of hypoxic respiratory drive.
  • Subcutaneous emphysema if pre-tracheal fascia is not dissected properly, or too small a tube is introduced into the tracheostomy.
  • Injury to great vessels.




It doesn’t have to be this way and we can help!

What is Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation (BCV)?
BCV is a simple concept. BCV provides an efficient and effective method of non-invasive external ventilation and is a real alternative to traditional forms of ventilation.

BCV works using a clear plastic shell called a Cuirass. The cuirass is lightweight and has a foam seal that maintains an airtight fit on the patient’s chest. It is very comfortable to wear. It is available in 12 different sizes, ranging from babies to adults.

Can a tracheostomy be removed if using BCV?
The tracheostomy can be removed provided there is a patent airway and a physician determines that BCV is fulfilling the ventilatory requirements of the patient.

Can BCV be used instead of invasive ventilation?
Yes, in most cases BCV can be used instead of invasive ventilation.
Find out more, or visit our FAQ section.

The Proof: Weaning the ‘Unweanable’

A 23-year-old female came to the hospital requiring complete ventilator support. With a history of respiratory failure, asthma, scoliosis, severe chronic/restrictive lung disease, and many other complications, she was considered “unweanable.”

She had 3 prior intubations, currently has a tracheostomy, and was undergoing a prolonged weaning from mechanical ventilation when her healthcare team decided to utilize BCV. The patient was weaned from complete ventilatory support within 2 weeks. After the initial adjustment period of a few days, the patient was able to tolerate BCV very well.

In just over 2 weeks thereafter, the patient was maintained on 40 percent-humidified O2 via trach collar during the day, and used BCV at night.

When asked about her experience with BCV, the patient wrote, “When they first put it on me, I was nervous about how it would feel. It felt different because my body wasn’t used to it. I felt discomfort at first, but as my body got adjusted to it, I felt much better and the discomfort was no longer there. In the beginning I was on it for 24 hours, but as I got better, now I use it only to go to bed. To me that says a lot. I feel it is worth using it because it has helped me maintain a low CO2 level, and helping my lungs expand so I can breathe better.”

The patient was discharged to home after more than 3 months of intensive therapy on an inpatient surgical unit. She has returned to the outpatient clinic several times since discharge and is doing well.
Find out more, or visit our FAQ section.


Weaning the ‘Unweanable’ Advance Healthcare Network for Respiratory & Sleep Medicine
Stephen R. Marrone, EdD, RN-BC, CTN-A, Julie Eason, BS, RRT-NPS, Claudette McLeod, MSN, RN, Collette Marriott, BSN, RN, Jocelyn Alleyne, MHA, RN, Dornalee Walker, RN, & Charlyn Bish, RN (March 2012) Weaning the ‘Unweanable’ Advance Healthcare Network for Respiratory & Sleep Medicine. [LINK]