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Commentary

Ultrasound-guided tracheostomy - not for the many, but perhaps the few... or the one

Lorraine N Tremblay123 and Damon C Scales124*

Author Affiliations

1 Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, D108, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5

3 Department of Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5

4 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5

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Critical Care 2011, 15:147  doi:10.1186/cc10106


See related research by Rajajee et al., http://ccforum.com/content/15/1/R67

Published: 6 April 2011

Abstract

Percutaneous tracheostomy has become a routine procedure in most intensive care units, and point of care ultrasound is becoming used with greater frequency to augment diagnosis and therapy for critically ill patients. The case series from Rajajee and colleagues incorporates 'real-time' ultrasound in an effort to improve the safety of percutaneous tracheostomy. While their report does not prove that ultrasound should be used prior to or during all percutaneous tracheostomies, it does reinforce several important safety considerations concerning the anatomy of the neck, and in particular the potential to encounter bleeding complications during these procedures.