Acute Crit Care.  2022 Feb;37(1):101-107. 10.4266/acc.2021.00906.

The feasibility and safety of percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy without endotracheal guidance in the intensive care unit

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Dong-A University Hospital, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Dong-A University Hospital, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea


Percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) is a common procedure in intensive care units (ICUs). Although it is thought to be safe and easily performed at the bedside, PDT usually requires endotracheal guidance, such as bronchoscopy. Here, we assessed the clinical outcomes and safety of PDT conducted without endotracheal guidance.
In the ICU and coronary ICU at a tertiary hospital, PDT was routinely performed without endotracheal guidance by a single medical intensivist using the Griggs technique PDT kit (Portex Percutaneous Tracheostomy Kit). We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of patients who underwent PDT without endotracheal guidance.
From January 1 to December 31, 2018, 78 patients underwent PDT without endotracheal guidance in the ICU and coronary ICU. The mean age of these subjects was 71.9±11.5 years, and 29 (37.2%) were female. The mean Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score at 24 hours after admission was 25.9±5.8. Fifty patients (64.1%) were on mechanical ventilation during PDT. Failure of the initial PDT attempt occurred in 4 patients (5.1%). In two of them, PDT was aborted and converted to surgical tracheostomy; in the other two patients, PDT was reattempted after endotracheal reintubation, with success. Minor bleeding at the tracheostomy site requiring gauze changes was observed in five patients (6.4%). There were no airway problems requiring therapeutic interventions or procedure-related sequelae.
PDT without endotracheal guidance can be considered safe and feasible.


airway management; intensive care units; tracheostomy


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