Emergency Cricothyrotomy: Long-Term Results

Isaacs Jr, John H.
April 2001
American Surgeon;Apr2001, Vol. 67 Issue 4, p346
Academic Journal
In 1996 we reviewed the literature and reported on our own series of emergency cricothyrotomy (EC) patients. The success rate in obtaining an airway was very good. The survival rate was also acceptable. However, there have been no reports of long-term results of EC. We retrospectively reviewed the long-term results in 27 survivors of 65 original EC patients. The average length of follow-up was 37 months (1-77 months). In 13 patients no airway problems were found. The remaining 14 patients had only minor problems such as hoarse voice and mild untreated stenosis. Of these 27 patients, however, only seven were doing well. Five patients had relatively minor problems such as the need for a gastrostomy tube, minor shortness of breath, or minor neurological problems. Fifteen patients had major problems: cervical spine injuries, changes in mental status, need for permanent nursing home care, seizure disorders, or injuries that precluded their working. In most cases these problems were due to the underlying disease process. EC is effective in obtaining an airway with a low incidence of later severe airway problems. However, many of these patients do poorly overall.


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