Prophylactic minitracheotomy in lung resections. A randomized controlled study.

Original article


Issa MM, Healy DM, Maghur HA, Luke DA.

Department of Surgery, Royal City of Dublin Hospital, Trinity College, School of Medicine, Ireland.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1991 May;101(5):895-900.


Thirty consecutive patients undergoing lung resections were randomized into two groups: Group A (n = 15) received minitracheotomy postoperatively and group B (n = 15) were control patients. Postoperative respiratory course was monitored by serial clinical assessments, chest x-ray examination, arterial blood gases, sputa bacterial cultures, and the patient’s requirement and response to chest physiotherpy. The two groups were similarly matched in age (mean 58.5 years), smoking habits, pulmonary functions, and surgical procedures. Postoperative pulmonary complications of collapse/consolidation developed in 11 patients (two in group A and nine in group B) (p less than 0.03). Four patients (all in group B) required nimitracheotomy in addition to antibiotics and chest physiotherapy to treat their pneumonia. Chest physiotherapy requirement was less in group A than in group B, with a mean number of sessions of seven in group A and eight in group B and a mean total time of 92 minutes in group A and 112 minutes in group B. The mean duration of minitracheotomy was 4.13 days. Minor temporary symptoms resulted from the minitracheotomy in eight patients (42%) and included discomfort, voice changes, subcutaneous emphysema, and stridor. There was one case of long-term morbidity (5%)-skin scarring from wound infection at the site of the minitracheotomy. No postoperative deaths resulted. We conclude that the prophylactic use of minitracheotomy is safe and effective in decreasing postoperative respiratory complications in patients undergoing lung resections.

Keywords: Prophylactic minitracheotomy in lung resections. A randomized controlled study.