Dilatational tracheotomy techniques are widely used in the long-term management of the respiratory tract in patients in intensive care units (ICU). The translaryngeal tracheotomy technique (TLT) was first described by Fantoni in 1993 and rapidly asserted itself, especially in Europe. This technique basically differs from the other percutaneous techniques in that it involves a progressive, retrograde, dilatation of the trachea in a single session conducted from inside the trachea, working outward, simultaneously exerting a counter-pressure on the pre-tracheal soft tissues with the fingers. The present study involves an endoscopy follow-up of 130 patients who had undergone TLT at the Intensive Care Unit of our Hospital between November 2000 and May 2001. The pre-operative oro-tracheal intubation time varied from 1 to 42 days. All patients filled out a brief questionnaire containing validated questions on their general health and quality of life with particular attention focused on respiratory conditions. Then, after receiving informed consent, the patients underwent laryngo-tracheoscopy with local anesthetic using a flexible tracheobronchoscope. All tests were recorded and viewed later by two operators in order to identify and divide the patients according to the level of execution of the tracheotomy and the presence of sequelae. The results obtained have shown that, like other percutaneous tracheotomy techniques, TLT provides some benefits including the fact that procedure can be performed at the bedside in a short time, with few post-operative complications, simpler nursing and fewer sequelae in time. Analysis of data concerning time of tracheostomy execution, tracheal level of stomia and nursing times has revealed three factors that determine severe sequelae: delay in tracheostomy execution, high level of execution with cricoid involvement and onset of problems during first tracheal cannula change.
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