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ISSN: 1642-5758
Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy
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vol. 52
Letter to the Editor

Ultrasound completes but does not replace bronchoscopy in monitoring percutaneous tracheotomy

Dariusz Maciejewski

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bielsko-Biala, Poland
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2020; 52, 3: 261–262
Online publish date: 2020/07/28
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JabRef, Mendeley
Papers, Reference Manager, RefWorks, Zotero
Dear Editor,
With reference to the article entitled “Ultrasound-guided percutaneous tracheotomy” by Plata and Gaszyń­ski [1], I would like to draw the readers’ attention to the fact that eight different techniques of percutaneous tracheotomy are currently available and usable for clinical practice. They are characterised by different indications and different clinical outcomes, including the incidence of complications that are generated. Table 1 of the paper listing indications and contraindications presumably concerns one of these methods of management. For instance, the feasibility of percutaneous tracheotomy in patients with coagulation disorders (BlueDolphin) or in children (TLT-J) has been known for years. Likewise, in other clinical situations described in Table 1, the procedure can be performed depending on the method chosen and operator’s skills [2]. Importantly, ultrasound monitoring should be used in each of these methods, bringing unquestionable benefits and improving the safety of the procedure in a multidirectional manner [2, 3]. The method of tracheotomy by Griggs et al. (1990), described in the context of ultrasound monitoring, gained its popularity mainly due to low costs, use of a reusable dilator, a modification of guidewire dilating forceps (GWDF) and the fact that it is commonly performed without bronchoscopy monitoring, at a hazardously steep learning curve (20 procedures?) (H. Ebbinghaus). However, in this regard, any form of monitoring, including non-invasive US evaluation, undoubtedly improves the safety and conditions of performing tracheotomy [2, 4]. Moreover, it should be emphasised that one of the biggest flaws of the Griggs technique is that the force exerted on the dilating forceps arms is subjectively (sic!) decided during shaping of the stoma (Figures 1 and 2).

Griggs tracheotomy

In such cases, ischaemia of the tracheal ring ligaments and/or cartilaginous rings can result in the stoma of uncontrollable sizes, disruption of the cartilaginous rings or even separation of the distal and proximal parts of the trachea. This is particularly likely when the procedure described is performed in cases of critical perfusion disorders and prolonged intubation. According to the Authors, tracheomalacia is a relative contraindication for the procedure. To prevent the complications, Tracheo S.E.T (Xmed S.r.l, Mirandola, Italy) was designed characterised by a controllable extent and different mechanics...

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