Previous article Table of Contents  Next article

Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 142-143

Fractured tracheostomy tube posted for bronchoscopic removal: An anesthetic challenge

Department of Anaesthesiology, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Srinivasan Swaminathan
Department of Anaesthesiology, JIPMER, Puducherry - 605 006
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_144_17

Rights and Permissions
Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2018

How to cite this article:
Ambasta S, Gupta SL, Rajiv G, Swaminathan S. Fractured tracheostomy tube posted for bronchoscopic removal: An anesthetic challenge. Saudi J Anaesth 2018;12:142-3

How to cite this URL:
Ambasta S, Gupta SL, Rajiv G, Swaminathan S. Fractured tracheostomy tube posted for bronchoscopic removal: An anesthetic challenge. Saudi J Anaesth [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Feb 25];12:142-3. Available from:


Fracture and displacement of tracheostomy tube into the respiratory tract is a dangerous late complication after tracheostomy. We like to present a case of a patient with fractured tracheostomy tube with respiratory distress posted for bronchoscopic removal.

A 48-year-old male patient was admitted to the emergency department with breathing difficulty for past 2 h. Patient was maintained on tracheostomy with a 32 size Fuller's tracheostomy tube. He was admitted as a case of tracheal stenosis 2 years back and had undergone emergency tracheostomy in view of difficult intubation. Subsequent evaluation showed fibrotic stenosis at the level of 5th and 6th tracheal ring with calcification. The patient had lost follow-up since the past 6 months and had now presented with respiratory distress.

On arrival, his vitals were blood pressure - 100/70 mmHg, pulse rate - 94/min, respiratory rate - 24/min, and SpO297%. On auscultation right, sided rhonchi were present, more in the upper lobe. There was no stridor or visible secretions; suctioning was done and Fuller's tube was removed, and on inspecting the tube, the inner part was missing and outer part was intact. Chest X-ray (CXR) showed the broken part of the tube in the right main bronchus [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Chest X-ray with fractured portion of tracheostomy tube

Click here to view
Figure 2: Chest X-ray lateral view showing fractured portion of tube

Click here to view

Patient was posted for removal of fractured fragment using rigid bronchoscopy. Inside Operation theatre Fuller's tube was removed and Portex 7.5 mm tube was inserted and position confirmed with chest expansion and capnography. He was induced with 100 μg fentanyl, 100 mg propofol and after confirmation of ventilation intravenous injection of atracurium 25 mg was given. Injections glycopyrollate. 2 mg and Dexamethosone 8 mg were also given intravenously.

Sevoflurane 2% with 100% O2 was started and minimum alveolar concentration of 1.2% was maintained.

After gentle, positive pressure ventilation for 5 min, the patient was handed over to surgeons who removed the Portex tube and inserted 6.0 size rigid bronchoscope through the tracheostomy stoma. Anesthesia circuit was connected to the bronchoscope and ventilation was confirmed. A long foreign body forceps was used to retrieve the displaced inner portion of the tracheostomy tube from the right main bronchus, and it was removed through the tracheostomy stoma. After removal, the 7.5 size Portex tracheostomy tube was reinserted, and breathing circuit was connected and adrenaline nebulization was given, 10 min following removal patient had spontaneous breathing efforts. He was reversed with neostigmine 2.5 mg and glycopyrrolate 0.4 mg; recovery was uneventful. A fracture at the junction between the inner tube and neck plate was found. Postoperative CXR was normal; he was discharged on tracheostomy tube 2 day later with instructions of regular follow-up.

The Fuller's tracheostomy tube usually gets fractured at the junction of flanges and the collar of the tube. Possible etiology includes prolonged use and seasonal cracking; repeated boiling and mechanical stress; erosion caused by tracheobronchial secretions; and manufacturing defects.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] The right main bronchus is the most frequent site of lodgment of the fractured segment, and some cases of impaction in left bronchus had also been reported.[1],[3] The fracture of the tube is common at the junction of the collar with the neck plates because stagnation of secretions is more in this area and these two parts are welded together.[4] Other common sites include distal end of tube and fenestration site.[4]

Anesthetic management during the removal of fractured tracheostomy tube is challenging. Most of these patients will be having a compromised airway anatomy because of the primary disease process and fracture, and dislodgment of the tube may lead to life-threatening airway obstruction. In the present case scenario, the patient already had a tracheal stenosis with resulting airway compromise. Rigid bronchoscopy to retrieve the foreign body was done by inserting the bronchoscope through the tracheostomy stoma site. Ventilation was done through the ventilating arm of the bronchoscope. The fractured portion of the tracheostomy tube was retrieved through the stoma site.

To conclude, fracture and displacement of the tracheostomy should always be considered as a differential diagnosis in the event of a sudden onset respiratory distress in a patient with tracheostomy of long duration.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Agarwal N, Agarwal R. Fractured tracheostomy tube migrating into the tracheobronchial tree: A rare complication. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci 2011;53:111-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
Majid AA. Fractured silver tracheostomy tube: A case report and literature review. Singapore Med J 1989;30:602-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wu CT, Lin JJ, Yeh R. Migration of fractured tracheostomy tube into the left main bronchus. Int J Paediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2007;2:58-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
Krishnamurthy A, Vijayalakshmi R. Broken tracheostomy tube: A fractured mandate. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2012;5:97-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Gupta SC, Ahluwalia H. Fractured tracheostomy tube: An overlooked foreign body. J Laryngol Otol 1996;110:1069-71.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


Previous article    Next article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  IN THIS Article
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded97    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal