Effect of Increased Body Mass Index on Complication Rates during Laryngotracheal Surgery Utilizing Jet Ventilation

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Jet ventilation has been used for >30 years as an anesthetic modality for laryngotracheal surgery. Concerns exist over increased risk with elevated body mass index (BMI). We reviewed our experience using jet ventilation for laryngotracheal stenosis to assess for complication rates with substratification by BMI.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary care center.

Subjects and Methods

A total of 126 procedures with jet ventilation were identified from October 2006 to December 2014. Complications were recorded, including intubation, unplanned admission, readmission, dysphonia, oral trauma, pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, and tracheostomy. Lowest intraoperative oxygen saturation and maximum end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) levels were recorded.


Among 126 patients, 43, 77, and 6 had BMIs of <25, 25-35, and 36-45, respectively. In the BMI <25 group, there was 1 unplanned intubation. Mean maximum ETCO2 was 36.51 with no hypoxemia observed. In the BMI 25-35 group, 2 patients required intubation, and 1 sustained minor oral trauma. The mean maximum ETCO2 was 38.85, with 4 patients having oxygen saturation <90%. In the BMI 36-45 group, 2 patients required intubation. The mean maximum ETCO2 was 41 with no hypoxemia observed. BMI and length of stenosis were statistically significant variables associated with incidence of intraoperative intubation.


Increased BMI was associated with an increase in highest ETCO2 intraoperatively. However, this was not associated with an increase in major complications. Jet ventilation was performed without significant adverse events in this sample, and it is a viable option if used with an experienced team in the management of laryngotracheal stenosis.

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