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Percutaneous tracheostomy/gastrostomy in brain-injured patients--a minimally invasive alternative

Percutaneous tracheostomy/gastrostomy in brain-injured patients--a minimally invasive alternative

Journal of Trauma 33(3): 435-439

Tracheostomy and gastrostomy are frequent adjunctive procedures required in the management of patients with severe brain injuries to facilitate neurorehabilitation. We therefore evaluated the use of two minimally invasive surgical procedures, percutaneous tracheostomy (PT) and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), in 27 patients with severe brain injuries. The mean age was 41 +/- 4 years, and 23 (85%) were men. All patients were intubated, and 19 (70%) required mechanical ventilator support on the day of PT/PEG. The endotracheal tubes had been in place for 1 to 21 days (mean, 8.7 +/- 0.8). All patients were stable from their acute brain injury; 13 had intracranial pressure (ICP) monitors in place. The Seldinger technique, as described by Ciaglia, was employed for PT. Following PT, a PEG was inserted by a modification of the Sachs-Vine "push" technique. We were uniformly successful in placing these access tubes. Complications were minor and not clinically significant. Three of 13 patients (23%) with ICP monitors had a transient rise in ICP related to PT and one of these patients developed local subcutaneous emphysema. Another patient experienced a mild cellulitis at the tracheostomy site. Of note, there were no PEG-related complications. In conclusion, PT and PEG are readily learned, minimally invasive procedures. In our experience with patients with severe brain injuries combined PT/PEG is a uniformly safe alternative to gain long-term access to the airway and gut.

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Accession: 060079167

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PMID: 1404515

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