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Value of Tracheotomy in the Surgical Patient

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;75(5):719-721. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280170029015.
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The indications for performing a tracheotomy can be grouped under three large categories, the first being a fixed obstruction to the upper tract, an example of which would be pharyngeal edema or a foreign body in the larynx. The second category would be that of fluid obstruction to the lower respiratory system, an example of which would be hypersecretion in the bronchial network. A third category could be termed prophylactic tracheotomy, which would include those performed to prevent either of the two previously mentioned conditions. Prophylactic or elective tracheotomy is being recognized as a more valuable adjunct to the over-all treatment of the injured patient than has previously been realized. For instance, at Brooke Army Hospital there were four tracheotomies performed during the year 1947; yet during the year 1954, when the census was quite comparable, the total number of tracheotomies performed was 79, a 20-fold increase. Nelson and Bowers


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