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Routine Chest X-ray After Percutaneous Tracheostomy Is Unnecessary

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Percutaneous tracheostomy (PT) is an increasingly common procedure in the management of critically ill patients. Current practice for both open and percutaneous tracheostomies is a postprocedure chest X-ray to rule out potentially life-threatening complications such as a pneumothorax or tube malposition. Our study evaluated the utility of chest X-ray after PT. A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients undergoing PT at Kern Medical Center between January 1999 and December 2003. Charts were reviewed for age, sex, and clinical outcome as well as the radiologist’s interpretation of the postprocedure chest X-ray. A total of 73 procedures were completed in 47 men and 26 women. The majority of the tracheostomies were in trauma patients who needed prolonged ventilatory support. There were no complications identified on postprocedure chest X-ray. A single patient was converted to an open procedure secondary to bleeding. We conclude that routine chest X-ray after PT is unnecessary.
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Keywords: Research Article

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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