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March 1968

Tracheal Stenosis From the Cuffed Tracheotomy Tube

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis. Dr. Christensen is now at Casper, Wyoming.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(3):279-284. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060281011

THIS PAPER reports ten cases of tracheal stenosis occurring as a complication following artificial ventilation through a cuffed tracheotomy tube. It is felt that tracheal stenosis will occur with increasing frequency as the employment of assisted ventilation becomes more common.

The complications of tracheotomy are many, and most are well known. Cough, dysphagia, aerophagia, and subcutaneous or mediastinal emphysema are annoying, but the more serious complications are hemorrhage, pneumothorax, tracheal stenosis, and tracheoesophageal fistula. The use of the cuffed tube has resulted in additional complications. Among these are displacement of the cuff outside the trachea, prolapse of the cuff over the lumen of the tube, detachment of the cuff in the trachea, pressure necrosis of the tracheal mucosa, eccentric displacement of the tracheal cannula, and increased incidence of tracheal stenosis.

It has long been recognized that complications are more likely to result from emergency than elective tracheotomy.1 Factors such