Article

Postintubation Tracheal Ruptures - A case report -.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Korea.
The Korean journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery 06/2011; 44(3):260-5. DOI: 10.5090/kjtcs.2011.44.3.260
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tracheobronchial ruptures (TBR) rarely complicate surgical procedures under general anesthesia. Seemingly uneventful intubations can result in injury to the trachea, which often manifests as hemoptysis and subcutaneous emphysema. We present 2 patients with postintubation TBR who were treated surgically and discuss considerations in the management of this potentially lethal injury.

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    ABSTRACT: We aim to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the cases of postintubation tracheal rupture (PiTR) published in the literature, with the aim of determining the risk factors that contribute to tracheal rupture during endotracheal intubation. A further objective has been to determine the ideal treatment for this condition (surgical repair or conservative management). A MEDLINE review of cases of tracheal rupture after intubation published in the English language and a review of the references in the articles found. The articles included were those that reported at least the demographic data (age and sex), the treatment performed, and the outcome. Those papers that did not detail the above variables were excluded. The search found 50 studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria. These studies included 182 cases of postintubation tracheal rupture. The overall mortality was 22% (40 patients). A statistical analysis was performed determining the relative risk (RR), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and/or statistical significance. The analysis was performed on the overall group and after dividing into 2 subgroups: patients in whom the lesion was detected intraoperatively, and other patients. Patient age (p=0.015) and emergency intubation (RR=3.11; 95% CI, 1.81-5.33; p=0.001) were variables associated with an increased mortality. In those patients in whom the PiTR was detected outside the operating theatre (delayed diagnosis), emergency intubation (RR=3.05; 95% CI, 1.69-5.51; p<0.0001), the absence of subcutaneous emphysema (RR=2.17; 95% CI, 1.25-4; p=0.001), and surgical treatment (RR=2.09; 95% CI, 1.08-4.07; p=0.02) were associated with an increased mortality. In addition, age (p=0.1) and male gender (RR=1.89; 95% CI, 0.98-3.63; p=0.13) showed a clear trend towards an increased mortality. PiTR is an uncommon condition but carries a high morbidity and mortality. Emergency intubation is the principal risk factor, increasing the risk of death threefold compared to elective intubation. Conservative treatment is associated with a better outcome. However, the group of patients who would benefit from surgical treatment has not been fully defined. Further studies are required to evaluate the best treatment options.
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    ABSTRACT: Postintubation tracheobronchial rupture is usually responsible for unstable intraoperative or postoperative conditions, and its management is discussed. We insist on conservative treatment as a viable alternative after late diagnosis of postintubation tracheobronchial rupture. We conducted a retrospective study including 14 consecutive patients treated between April 1981 and July 1998. Twelve tracheobronchial ruptures occurred after intubation for general surgery and two after thoracic surgery. In all cases, the tear consisted of a linear laceration of the posterior membranous wall of the tracheobronchial tree ranging from 2 to 6 cm. One death occurred in a very weak patient unfit to undergo a redo operation for surgical repair. Seven patients were treated conservatively and cured without sequelae. Six patients underwent surgical repair, of whom 2 were diagnosed and repaired intraoperatively. Aggressive surgical repair is not always mandatory after delayed diagnosis of iatrogenic tracheobronchial rupture. Conservative treatment must often be considered, except after lung resection.
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    ABSTRACT: Ruptures of the tracheobronchial tree present a life-threatening situation. Nevertheless, therapy is still controversial. Though conservative treatment by antibiotics and intubation with the cuff inflated distal to the tear is favored by some authors, surgical repair is unavoidable in many cases. We present a series of 31 patients (mean age 43.6 years, range 8--72 years) with iatrogenous or post-traumatic tracheobronchial ruptures treated since 1975. Fifteen ruptures were longitudinal tears of the trachea, not extending lower than a distance of 3 cm from the bifurcation, 11 involved the bifurcation and/or the main bronchi. The total length of the longitudinal tears ranged from 2 to 12 cm, five were transverse near complete abruptions of the trachea or main bronchi. Involvement of the full thickness of the wall with free view into the pleural space or to the esophageal wall was present in 29 cases. Twenty-nine out of the 31 patients underwent surgical repair and two were treated conservatively. The length and depth of the lesion, the degree of subcutaneous emphysema, pneumothorax and/or pneumomediastinum as well as clinical signs suggesting incipient mediastinitis were considered when making the decision for surgery. Twenty-five out of the 29 patients experienced an uneventful recovery. Four patients died of sepsis unrelated to the tracheobronchial trauma. One of the two patients who underwent conservative therapy also recovered uneventfully. The other one died because of multi-organ failure due to underlying myocardial infarction. Conveniently localized short lacerations, especially if they do not involve the whole thickness of the tracheal wall, can be treated with antibiotics and intubation with the cuff inflated distal to the tear, avoiding high intra-bronchial pressures also after eventual extubation. In all other cases surgical repair is to be preferred.
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