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Light at a tunnel′s end: The lightwand as a rapid tracheal location aid when encountering false passage during tracheostomy

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Author(s): Goneppanavar Umesh | Rao Shwethapriya | Shetty Nanda | Manjunath Prabhu | Anjilivelil Daniel | Iyer Sadasivan

Journal: Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine
ISSN 0972-5229

Volume: 14;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 144;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Decannulation | distorted anatomy | false passage | lightwand | open tracheostomy

ABSTRACT
False passage and loss of airway during tracheostomy are not uncommon, especially in patients with short and thick necks. Distorted neck anatomy following either repeated insertion attempts or due to underlying malignancy may make it very difficult to locate the trachea even while attempting open/surgical tracheostomy, despite good exposure of the neck in such situations. The lightwand is not an ideal device for tracheal intubation in such patients. However, it can be useful in these patients while performing open tracheostomy. Passing the lightwand through the orotracheal tube can aid in rapid identification of the trachea in such situations and may help reduce the occurrence of complications subsequent to repeated false passage. We report a series of four such cases where use of lightwand aided in rapidly locating the trachea during tracheostomy complicated by distorted anatomy.

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