Percutaneous Tracheostomy: Ciaglia Blue Rhino Versus the Basic Ciaglia Technique of Percutaneous Dilational Tracheostomy

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Percutaneous dilational tracheostomy (PDT), according to Ciaglia’s technique described in 1985, has become the most popular technique for percutaneous tracheostomy and is demonstrably as safe as surgical tracheostomy. In 1999, an extensively modified technique of PDT was introduced, the Ciaglia Blue Rhino (CBR; Cook Critical Care, Bloomington, IL), that consists of one-step dilation by means of a curved dilator with hydrophilic coating. To compare CBR with the basic technique of PDT, we performed a prospective, randomized trial in 50 critically ill adults. Twenty-five of these patients had PDT, and 25 had CBR. Average operating times were <3 min for CBR (range: 50–360 s) and <7 min for PDT (range: 4–20 min;P < 0.0001). Tracheostomy was successfully completed in all patients. When CBR was performed, 11 minor, nonlife-threatening complications were noted: nine fractures of tracheal cartilage and two short periods of intraoperative oxygen desaturation. During PDT, seven complications occurred, of which three were potentially life-threatening: two injuries to the posterior tracheal wall, one pneumothorax, two tracheal cartilage fractures (P < 0.05 vs CBR), one case of bleeding, and one short episode of intraoperative oxygen desaturation. Regardless of whether PDT or CBR was performed, oxygenation was not significantly affected, and there was no infection of the tracheostoma. Based on our data, we conclude that new CBR is more practicable than PDT. No life-threatening complications occurred during CBR.ImplicationsTo assess practicability and safety of the Ciaglia Blue Rhino (Cook Critical Care, Bloomington, IL)—an extensively modified technique of percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy—50 critically ill adults on long-term ventilation underwent either new Ciaglia Blue Rhino or percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy in a prospective, randomized clinical trial.

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