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June 10, 1968

Rupture of the Trachea Following Endotracheal Intubation

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Administration Hospital and the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, Little Rock.

JAMA. 1968;204(11):995-997. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140240051015

Widespread use of the cuffed tube in anesthesia has reduced the risk of aspiration and also has reduced the possibility of obstruction to air flow. Flow of gases is facilitated as well as is the removal of tracheobronchial secretions. Few complications have been ascribed to use of the cuffed tube. Recently, however, we had an alarming experience with a patient undergoing exploratory thoracotomy for cancer of the lung. When the chest was opened, air was leaking from a tear in the trachea. Details are presented below.

Report of a Case  The 60-year-old operator of a pool hall was well until February 1967, when he became short of breath. He started to cough, felt weak, and lost his appetite. Night sweats developed, and by July, when he was seen at the Little Rock Veterans Administration Hospital, he had lost between 25 and 30 pounds in weight. There was a history of