The second group consists of patients with chronic or long-term respiratory problems. Inability to cough out tracheobronchial secretions in paralyzed or weakened patients may be an indication for tracheotomy, which allows frequent and easy endotracheal suctioning. This group of patients includes those with prolonged unconsciousness after drug intoxication, head injury, or brain surgery and those with bulbar or thoracic paralysis, as in poliomyelitis. To this group are added patients with general debility, especially in the presence of pulmonary infection or abdominal distention, where a temporary course of respiratory support with an endotracheal tube and mechanical ventilator for 10 to 14 days must be converted into a longer course of pulmonary assistance. In these patients inability to maintain an adequate gas exchange or oxygen or carbon dioxide may dictate conversion of the endotracheal tube to a tracheotomy tube. Frequently, checks of arterial blood gases will reveal hypoxemia or hypercarbia, while simple measurements of vital capacity and negative inspiratory force will detect insufficient respiratory muscular effort. These tests are important in the decision to continue tracheal intubation with ventilator assistance. Other candidates for tracheotomy may include patients undergoing major operative or radical resections of the mouth, jaw, or larynx, where this procedure often is done as a precautionary measure. Antibiotics may be indicated.