Tracheal extubation in children: Planning, technique, and complications

Paediatr Anaesth. 2020 Mar;30(3):331-338. doi: 10.1111/pan.13774. Epub 2020 Jan 2.


Although poorly described in textbooks and rarely a topic of lecture, tracheal extubation is a critical phase of anesthetic care. It should therefore be carefully planned taking into account simple physiology-based principles to maintain the upper airway patent and avoid lung de-recruitment, but also the pharmacology of all anesthetic agents used. Although the management of most of its complications can be learned in a clinical simulation environment, the basic techniques can so far only be taught at the bedside, in the operating room. In this paper, the process of extubation is described in successive steps: preparation, return to adequate spontaneous ventilation, awake versus deep extubation, timing according to the child's breathing cycle, extubation in the operating room or in the Postanesthesia Care unit, child's management immediately after extubation, diagnosis and treatment of the early complications, and finally, how to prepare for a difficult reintubation.

Keywords: awake; complications; deep; extubation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Extubation / adverse effects
  • Airway Extubation / methods*
  • Child
  • Humans