Airway management of major blunt tracheal and esophageal injury: A case report

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2022 Jan;28(1):120-123. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2020.81613.


Trans-sectional injuries of trachea are quite rare and can be extremely challenging for anesthesiologists to deal with. About 25% of post-traumatic deaths are due to thoracic traumas in which blunt injuries take a rather small place within and the resultant damage of respiratory tract is quite rare with an incidence of 0.5-2%. A recent review from a single trauma center revealed an incidence of 0.4% for tracheobronchial injury (TBI) due to blunt thoracic injuries. Most of the patients having tracheal transection lose their lives on the field due to loss of airway. Patients mostly present with a large spectrum of clinical features varying from hoarseness to respiratory collapse; though subcutaneous emphysema is the most common presenting sign which should remind possible TBI. Emergent surgery is preferred seldomly; such in cases of partial damage or because of late diagnosis, due to favorable outcome of conservative approach. Herein, we report the management of a case on TBI due to blunt thoracic trauma, experiencing difficult ventilation despite tracheal intubation. Fiber-optic bronchoscope (FOB) seems obligatory to visualize site and severity of injury and to ensure safe airway during procedures such as the neck exploration, primary end-to-end anastomosis of the trachea, tracheostomy, diversion pharyngostomy, and feeding jejunostomy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Thoracic Injuries* / surgery
  • Trachea / injuries
  • Trachea / surgery
  • Tracheostomy
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / surgery