Navigation system for percutaneous tracheotomy

Acta Otolaryngol. 2021 Oct;141(10):953-959. doi: 10.1080/00016489.2021.1982147. Epub 2021 Sep 27.


Background: Percutaneous dilatational tracheotomy (PDT) is a well-established method. The prerequisite is to identify anatomical landmarks of the neck. We introduce a three-dimensional navigation system - SafeTrach.

Aims/objectives: We present an alternative technique using internal landmarks that can be used in patients with difficult anatomy.

Material and methods: The device is a forceps-like instrument with an outer and an inner shank. The later serves as a ventilation lumen and stabilizes the orotracheal tube in the midline of trachea. The outer shank acts as a three-dimensional guide for the puncturing needle.

Results: Out of 48 patients we have determined the level of puncture in 20 patients by using intraoperative measurements. The distance from the vocal cords to the puncture site was about 50 mm for men and 40 mm for women. In 13 of the patients who had had CT scans, we studied the distance between the vocal cords and the optimal puncture site and found the median distance for men 45 mm and for women 42 mm.

Conclusions and significance: With the studied navigation system one may use external or internal landmarks to indicate the puncture level in PDT. The device may minimize the risk of injuring the posterior tracheal wall.

Keywords: Tracheotomy; dilatational; percutaneous; tracheostomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anatomic Landmarks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Trachea / diagnostic imaging
  • Tracheotomy / instrumentation*
  • Video Recording*
  • Young Adult