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Endotracheal or nasotracheal intubation are relatively simple procedures required by some patients with respiratory failure who need the assistance of a mechanical ventilator (respirator). In endotracheal intubation, the physician usually anesthetizes the soft palate with an anesthetic spray and then locates the epiglottis and vocal cords with a special lighted instrument called a laryngoscope. Next, a soft plastic tube is gently passed through the mouth and then between the vocal cords and positioned about midway down the trachea (windpipe). The tube is secured with a balloon that encircles the tip of the tube as well as at the mouth with either tape or plastic holders. Nasotracheal intubation is a similar procedure except that the tube is inserted trough a nostril before passing between the vocal cords.

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