Ingested Endotracheal Tube in an Adult following Intubation Attempt for Head Injury

Block, Ernest F.J.; Cheatham, Michael L.
December 1999
American Surgeon;Dec1999, Vol. 65 Issue 12, p1134
Academic Journal
General surgeons are often consulted for assistance in the management of ingested foreign bodies. Deglutition of an endotracheal tube is an unusual complication of airway management. In these cases, the artificial airway is "lost" when it becomes lodged deep into the esophagus. Endoscopic extraction has been described as therapeutic. We report a case in which prehospital endotracheal intubation attempt for the management of closed head injury resulted in a swallowed endotracheal tube. The tube remained undetected until radiographs were performed for a second unrelated traumatic event 2 years later. Endoscopic extraction was unsuccessful, due to rigidity of the tube. Surgical extraction via gastrotomy was uneventful. Surgeons involved in trauma and other emergency settings should be aware of this complication and options in management.


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