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Tracheal Rupture After Emergent Endotracheal Intubation

Yin-Lung Chang a, Nai-Chuan Chien b, Szu-Yi Hsu a, Yu-Yung Lai a

aDepartment of Anesthesiology, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
bDepartment of Thoracic Surgery, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan

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Tracheal rupture after endotracheal intubation is a rare but serious complication. Its causes remain unclear but many physicians believe that weakness of the membranous trachea in patients with chronic illness is a leading factor. We present three patients who developed membranous tracheal rupture after emergent endotracheal intubation. Based on our experience and a review of the relevant literature, we emphasize selection of a correctly sized endotracheal tube to minimize the risk of rupture. Use of a smaller endotracheal tube in the emergent setting, especially for patients at potential risk of rupture due to steroid use or chronic illness, is highly recommended.


Emergency; Intubation; Rupture; Tracheal


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