Routine chest X-ray after percutaneous tracheostomy is unnecessary

Hoehne, Francesca; Ozaeta, Maria; Chung, Ray
January 2005
American Surgeon;Jan2005, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p51
Academic Journal
journal article
Percutaneous tracheostomy (PT) is an increasingly common procedure in the management of critically ill patients. Current practice for both open and percutaneous tracheostomies is a post-procedure chest X-ray to rule out potentially life-threatening complications such as a pneumothorax or tube malposition. Our study evaluated the utility of chest X-ray after PT. A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients undergoing PT at Kern Medical Center between January 1999 and December 2003. Charts were reviewed for age, sex, and clinical outcome as well as the radiologist's interpretation of the postprocedure chest X-ray. A total of 73 procedures were completed in 47 men and 26 women. The majority of the tracheostomies were in trauma patients who needed prolonged ventilatory support. There were no complications identified on postprocedure chest X-ray. A single patient was converted to an open procedure secondary to bleeding. We conclude that routine chest X-ray after PT is unnecessary.


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