Perioperative complications of elective tracheostomy in critically ill patients

Marie Christine Stock, C. G. Woodward, B. A. Shapiro, R. D. Cane, V. Lewis, B. Pecaro

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132 Scopus citations


This study was designed to examine prospectively the incidence of perioperative complications associated with elective tracheostomy in critically ill patients. An experienced surgeon and anesthesiologist participated in every tracheostomy procedure. In 81 procedures, there was no loss of airway control for greater than 20 sec, no airway obstruction, no blood loss exceeding 50 ml, and no aspiration. One patient (1.2%) had cardiovascular instability. During the next 48 h, two patients (2.4%) required wound packing to control hemorrhage but did not require blood transfusion and two patients (2.4%) had evidence of supraclavicular subcutaneous emphysema that was physiologically inconsequential. There was no perioperative mortality or major morbidity associated with the tracheostomy procedure. We conclude that, under controlled conditions, elective tracheostomy can be performed safely in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-863
Number of pages3
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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