Do Not Burn Your Airway Bridge: A Technique to Safely Exchange a Tracheostomy Tube for a Tracheal Tube

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Abstract

Tracheostomy is one of the most ancient and commonly performed surgical procedures. When tracheostomized patients require a subsequent intervention, it is usually necessary to exchange the tracheostomy tube for a tracheal tube, which can be dangerous. These potential complications may be overlooked or underestimated by the anesthesia providers. An inability to ventilate the patient and replace the tube after removal of a fresh tracheostomy tube can escalate rapidly to a life-threatening crisis. We present a case in which an airway exchange catheter was used to safely replace a tracheostomy tube with a tracheal tube in a patient with a fresh tracheostomy.

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