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Paediatric tracheostomy: Fifty-seven operations on fifty-three children

  • W. J. Newlands (a1) and W. S. McKerrow (a1)


Fifty-seven operations on 53 patients represents the total experience of tracheostomy in children under 13 years during 1964–1985 in an area with half a million inhabitants. No complications occurred during surgery and no deaths were related to the operations. Complications followed 16 out of 30 (53%) operations on children under three years and four out of 27 (15%) of the remainder, an overall complication rate of 35%. Many fewer operations have been required since 1973 because of the successful employment of nasotracheal intubation in the treatment of upper and lower airway obstruction caused by acute infection. Obstruction by-pass remains the commonest function of tracheostomy, with congenital lesions and trauma now the commonest causes of obstruction as opposed to acute infection in the earlier years. Despite the successful use of nasotracheal intubation there were absolute indications for tracheostomy—blockage of the nasotracheal tube; inability to intubate a child with epiglottitis; and necessity for an artificial airway of long duration.


Corresponding author

William J. Newlands, F.R.C.S., Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital, Aberdeen AB9 2ZG.


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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