A clinical study on laryngotracheal injuries following endotracheal intubation

Raveendra P. Gadag, Nidhi Mohan Sreedevi, Nikhila Kizhakkilott, Vijayalakshmi Muthuraj, Prajwal S. Dange, Manjunath Dandinarasaiah


Background: Despite major advances in the design of endotracheal tubes and developments in the management of difficult airways, endotracheal intubation remains by far the most common cause of laryngotracheal injuries (LTI). These LTI are challenging to manage and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Hence, the present study was done to find out the incidence, types of LTI and to study the factors affecting the same.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted on patients who were intubated for more than 48 hours and admitted in medical intensive care units in a tertiary referral hospital, for a period of 1 year. All patients following extubation were evaluated for LTI by x-ray neck (antero-posterior and lateral view), rigid endoscopy and flexible naso-pharyngo-laryngoscopy.  

Results: Thirty patients were included in the study. Majority of the patients (56.6%) were found normal while 43.2% patients were having LTI following extubation in the form of bilateral vocal cord fixation, subglottic stenosis, granulation tissue in the posterior commissure and in the trachea. Majority of these patients were aged less than 45 years, with duration of intubation for more than 10 days, with tube size more than 7 mm. Organo-phosphourous (OP) poisoning was the etiology for LTI in 69.2% cases.

Conclusions: A high incidence of LTI especially in cases of OP poisoning warrants one to be cautious in managing these intubated patients. Those patients requiring prolonged intubation should be considered for other alternative airway managements like tracheostomy in addition to using low pressure, high volume cuffed tubes. Adequate training of the emergency personnel in the intubation technique and its subsequent care is important especially in a tertiary referral center.


Endotracheal intubation, Flexible naso-pharyngo-laryngoscopy, Laryngotracheal injuries

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