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June 14, 1965

Percutaneous Polyethylene Tube Tracheostomy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery and the Division of Research, Lankenau Hospital, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1965;192(11):970-972. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080240040009

Pulmonary complications consequent to surgical operations or serious illnesses continue to present a major problem in the management of patients. The variety of techniques previously employed for the prevention of these complications would indicate that no single method has been ideal. Since prevention is preferable to treatment, a single, safe, and effective method would seem desirable. Percutaneous polyethylene tube tracheostomy appears to fulfill these criteria. This method utilizes the percutaneous insertion of a small polyethylene catheter into the trachea, which in turn serves as a means for intratracheal instillation of various agents. A paroxysm of coughing is thus invoked, and the respiratory tree cleared of secretions. Using a modification of the originally described technique,1,2 percutaneous tracheostomy has been done in over 200 medical and surgical patients during the past four years without complications.

Technique  After sterile preparation and draping of the anterior part of the neck, a skin wheal

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