Ultrasound and bronchoscopic controlled percutaneous tracheostomy on trauma ICU

Injury. 2000 Nov;31(9):663-8. doi: 10.1016/s0020-1383(00)00094-2.


Tracheostomy is a common surgical procedure performed in long-term ventilated patients in intensive care. Since the role of percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) on Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has become steadily more important in the last few years, a prospective study was started to evaluate the economic efficiency and to show the minimization of the complication rate of this procedure. In 72 patients we performed PDT as a bedside procedure. Initially the thyroid gland and the subcutaneous vessels were studied by ultrasound in every patient. The puncture of the trachea, the dilatational procedure and the insertion of the tracheal cannula were executed under bronchoscopic monitoring. Finally, a bronchoscopic control view followed via the new cannula to detect intratracheal complications. Mechanical ventilation was maintained during the procedure and controlled by continuous pulse oximetry. According to prior ultrasound findings the place to puncture the trachea was changed in 24% of the patients, in one case tracheostomy was performed as an open conventional procedure. The following complications could be observed: one case involving perforation of a cartilaginous ring, one case with venous bleeding of a small subcutaneous vein and two cases with punctures of the bronchoscope. There were no cases of miscannulation, penetration of the posterior tracheal wall or major bleeding requiring intervention or conversion. The followup study revealed that there was no sign of further complications in any patient. In addition, cost analysis demonstrated that there was a significant economical advantage of PDT in comparison with open standard tracheostomy. Standardized ultrasonographically and bronchoscopically controlled PDT turns out to be a safe, simple and cost effective bedside procedure on ICU. Because of ultrasound examination performed before the procedure, and bronchoscopic surveillance during the procedure, safety of this procedure can be enhanced, thus minimizing the rate of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oximetry
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tracheostomy / adverse effects
  • Tracheostomy / economics
  • Tracheostomy / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional