Evaluation of tracheal diameter after surgical tracheostomy

Am J Otolaryngol. 2006 Sep-Oct;27(5):310-3.
Evaluation of tracheal diameter after surgical tracheostomy.
Sivakumar K, Prepageran N, Raman R.

Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the narrowing of the trachea in head and neck surgical patients who had undergone elective tracheostomy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a prospective study. Twenty-five patients were included in this study. All these patients had a preoperative elective tracheotomy, preceding major head and neck surgery for head and neck malignancies. An x-ray of the lateral soft tissue neck was taken after a minimum of 6 weeks after the dissimulation of tracheotomy tube. Diameter of the trachea above the stoma (around 2 cm below the cricoid ring that can be clearly seen in lateral x-ray corresponding to the second tracheal ring) was taken as controls. Data were entered into a computer database and statistically analyzed using SPSS for Windows (version 12.0; SPSS, Chicago, Ill). In addition to descriptive statistics for all patients, inferential statistics were used to compare the 2 tracheal diameters across all patients and within the subgroups of men and women. Associations between outcome and other variables were evaluated statistically using an chi 2 test for the categorical data. Other parametric and nonparametric statistical tests were used when appropriate. Criterion for statistical significance was set at P < .05 (Student t test and 2-tailed test). RESULTS: From this study, 92% (23/25) patients developed narrowing of trachea, all less than 50%. Very early decanulation of tracheotomy shows low or no narrowing at all. There is gradual narrowing in patients in whom dissimulations were performed after 14 days. Ethnicities of Indian decent (13/25) predominate in this study population. Male patients in this study have shorter decanulation period compared with female. CONCLUSIONS: Elective surgical tracheotomy is a relatively safe procedure resulting in minimum asymptomatic tracheal stenosis.