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עמוד בית
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October 2023
Milena Tocut MD, David Linton MD, Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD

Patients with severe ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke may require invasive mechanical ventilation due to loss of consciousness and increased risk for aspiration pneumonia secondary to new onset dysphagia. Ventilation may also confer airway protection until the patient stabilizes [1]. Mechanically intubated stroke patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) have a poor prognosis and a 40–80 % mortality rate [2]. Proceeding to tracheostomy is mandatory in stroke patients to ease the procedure of respiratory weaning and extubation [1]. In the stroke ICU, between 15% and 35% of the mechanically intubated patients cannot proceed to tracheostomy due to weaning and extubation failure [3].

October 2020
Marc Romain MBBCh , Moshe Vysokovsky MD, Peter Vernon van-Heerden MBBCh, Ilana Stav BSc, and Sigal Sviri MD

Background: In Israel, critically ill patients are ventilated and managed in intensive care units or general wards.

Objectives: To compare the mortality rates and long-term cognitive and functional outcomes of ventilated patients who underwent tracheostomy insertion in the Medical ICU (MICU) versus those cared for in the in-patient wards.

Methods: The study comprised 170 patients who underwent percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) over an 18-month period in the MICU (n=102) and in in-patient wards (internal medicine and neurology) (n=68). Telephone interviews were conducted with living patients and/or their relatives at least 6 months after discharge from the hospital.

Results: Ward patients were 10 years older than ICU patients undergoing PDT (P = 0.003). The length of stay (LOS) in the wards was longer than in the ICU (P < 0.001), whereas the total LOS in the hospital was similar (P = 0.43). ICU mortality was lower than in the wards (P = 0.001) but hospital mortality was comparable between the two groups (P = 0.17). At 6 months follow-up more ICU patients were fully conscious, weaned from ventilation, and decannulated. More patients in the ICU group were at home and were independent or had mildly impaired activities of daily living. More patients in the ward group were residing in long-term care facilities with functional limitations.

Conclusions: MICU patients who undergo tracheostomy may have a good long-term functional and cognitive outcome. More studies are needed to further assess long-term outcomes in these patients.

June 2017
Ella Even-Tov, Itzhak Koifman, Vladimir Rozentsvaig, Leonid Livshits and Peter Gilbey

Background: Percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) has become a standard technique for critically ill patients who require long-term ventilation. The most common early post-operative complication is bleeding related to anatomical variation in vasculature. The procedure is performed at the patient's bedside unless this is deemed unsafe and then the accepted alternative is open tracheostomy in the operating room. 

Objectives: To evaluate the use of pre-procedural ultrasound to aid in the decision of whether PDT in critical care patients should be performed at the patient's bedside or by open surgical tracheostomy.

Methods: Patients were jointly evaluated by a critical care physician and a head and neck surgeon. Based on this evaluation, the method of tracheostomy was determined. Subsequently, pre-procedural ultrasound examination of the anterior neck was performed. The final decision whether to perform PDT or open surgical tracheostomy was based on the ultrasound findings. Changes in management decisions following ultrasound were recorded. 

Results: We included 36 patients in this prospective study. Following ultrasound examination, the management decision was changed in nine patients (25%).

Conclusions: Pre-procedural ultrasound for critically ill patients undergoing tracheostomy can influence management decisions regarding the performance of tracheostomy. 


June 2013
A. Yakirevitch, G. Nakache, N. Lipschitz, E.E. Alon, M. Wolf and Y.P. Talmi
 Background: Tracheostomy is a frequent, and at times semiurgent, surgical procedure. It is performed in close proximity to the thyroid gland, and in many cases requires division of its isthmus putting a patient in danger of significant bleeding.

Objectives: To examine prospectively the feasibility of vessel sealing in tracheostomy.

Methods: A vessel-sealing device was used in 24 consecutive patients undergoing tracheostomy. There were no exclusion criteria for enrolling the patients. No other hemostatic technique was used for dividing the isthmus.

Results: There were no bleeding events throughout the postoperative period. The operating time savingwas 5–10 minutes.

Conclusions: Use of the vessel sealer was found to be straightforward, efficacious, rapid and safe. 

October 2007
M. Klein, R. Agassi, A-R. Shapira, D.M. Kaplan, L. Koiffman and N. Weksler

Background: Percutaneous tracheostomy has largely replaced surgical tracheostomy in the intensive care unit setting. Although it seems logical that surgeons continue to do tracheostomies, anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists are familiar with airway control and guide wire techniques and could replace surgeons in the performance of PDT.

Objectives: To assess the safety and effectiveness of bedside PDT[1] in the ICU[2].

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of 207 patients in the ICU who underwent PDT by an intensive care physician.

Results: Subcutaneous emphysema without pneumothorax occurred in one patient. Four patients underwent surgical revision following PDT. Early bleeding (during the first 48 hours following the procedure) was the indication in two patients and late bleeding, on the 10th post-PDT day, in one. In one case PDT was converted to surgical tracheostomy due to inadvertent early decannulation. There was one death directly related to the procedure, due to an unrecognized paratracheal insertion of the tracheostomy tube followed by mechanical ventilation, which led to bilateral pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum and cardio-circulatory collapse. No infectious complications were seen at the stoma site or surrounding tissues.

Conclusions: PDT by intensive care physicians appears to be safe and should be included in the curriculum of intensive care residency.

[1] PDT = percutaneous dilational tracheostomy

[2] ICU = intensive care unit

July 2006
M. Katz Leurer, E. Be'eri and D. Zilbershtein
 Background: There is a growing demand for respiratory rehabilitation services for children dependent on tracheostomy and/or chronic mechanical ventilation. Discharging these patients home following their rehabilitation can be an arduous process.

Objectives: To define the length of time required to rehabilitate and discharge these patients, and to identify predictors of a prolonged or failed discharge process.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients admitted to the Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit at Alyn Hospital, Jerusalem, over a 4 year period.

Results: Of the 48 patients identified, 31 (64.7%) were eventually discharged, 13 (27.1%) remained hospitalized long-term, and 4 (8.3%) died during their hospitalization. The median length of hospitalization was 10 months: 6 months for purposes of rehabilitation therapy, and 4 months thereafter to resolve the logistics of discharge. Specific family characteristics – an unemployed father (odds ratio = 4.6, P = 0.02) and an additional family member with a disability (OR[1] = 5.8, P = 0.03) – as well as ongoing mechanical ventilation at the time of discharge (OR = 5.5, P < 0.01) were found to positively correlate with a prolonged or failed discharge process.

Conclusions:  Hospitalization in a pediatric respiratory rehabilitation unit may be prolonged for both medical and non-medical reasons, with the process of discharge home being particularly difficult in certain subsets of patients. A proactive discharge policy by hospitals, improved community support services, and legislation defining the rights of home-ventilated children may facilitate more efficient discharge home of these patients.


[1] OR = odds ratio

June 2004
B. Joshua, R. Feinmesser, L. Zohar and J. Shvero

Background: Laryngeal obstruction due to bilateral vocal cord immobility in adduction may cause dyspnea, hoarseness and dysphagia and can lead to dependence on a tracheostomy. Treatment poses a challenge because of the opposing functions of the larynx and the risk of neck and laryngeal tissue damage.

Objectives: To describe our experience with endoscopic CO2-laser-assisted posterior ventriculocordectomy without tracheostomy for the treatment of bilateral vocal cord immobility in adduction.

Method: The study group consisted of five male and five female patients aged 17–81 years. The procedure was performed with an endoscope and operating microscope connected to a CO2 laser. A C-shaped incision was made, and the posterior third of one vocal cord, the vocal process of the arytenoid, and the posterior third of the false vocal cord were excised. Tracheostomy was not performed.

Results: The technique allowed for a convenient approach to the difficult-to-view areas of the larynx. The procedure was short and bloodless, with minimal damage to laryngeal tissue and no local edema. Hospitalization time was short. Postoperatively, patients had sufficient breathing and mostly fair to good voice quality. None of the patients had severe aspirations and only three patients had mild aspirations.

Conclusions: We recommend this procedure for patients with bilateral vocal cord immobility prior to tracheostomy. Delaying surgery beyond the time of possible re-innervation may place the patient at risk of decompensation, which requires tracheostomy.

December 2002
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