October 1965

Complications of Tracheotomy

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology and Department of Surgery, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Instructor in Otolaryngology (Dr. Yarington) and Professor of Otolaryngology and Chairman of Department (Dr. Frazer). Dr. Yarington is presently Chief of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Service, US Army Hospital, Ft. Carson, Colo.

Arch Surg. 1965;91(4):652-655. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320160106025

TRACHEOTOMY  (opening of the trachea) and tracheostomy (the creation of a more permanent opening in the trachea) are procedures which have become commonplace. It is the opinion of many that any physician should be able to quickly perform a tracheotomy at a moment's notice. This belief probably contributes to the high complication rates for this operation. It is our purpose here to discuss the complications of tracheotomy seen in 240 cases done over a two-year period in one hospital. The basic statistics of these procedures are outlined in Table 1 and explained below.As can be seen, general surgeons and otolaryngologists do approximately the same number of tracheotomies. This situation has shifted over the past year, however, so that while in 1962 and 1963, of the cases reviewed, 43 were done by otolaryngologists and 71 by general surgeons, in 1963 and 1964, 63 were done by otolaryngologists and 43 by

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