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World J Emerg Surg. 2011 Nov 10;6(1):38. doi: 10.1186/1749-7922-6-38.

Ten-year experiences with Tracheostomy at a University teaching hospital in Northwestern Tanzania: A retrospective review of 214 cases.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Weill-Bugando University Colleges of Health Sciences, Mwanza, Tanzania.



Tracheostomy remains a very important life saving surgical procedure worldwide and particularly in our environment where patients present late in upper airway obstruction. Little work has been done on this subject in our environment and therefore it was necessary to conduct this study to describe our own experiences with tracheostomy, outlining the common indications and outcome of tracheostomized patients in our setting and compare our results with those from other centers in the world.


This was a 10-year retrospective study which was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre from January 2001 to December 2010. Data were retrieved from patients' files kept in the Medical record department and analyzed using SPSS computer software version 15.0. Ethical approval to conduct the study was obtained from relevant authority before the commencement of the study.


A total of 214 patients were studied. The male to female ratio was 3.1: 1. The majority of patients were in the 3rd decade of life. The most common indication for tracheostomy was upper airway obstruction secondary to traumatic causes in 55.1% of patients, followed by upper airway obstruction due to neoplastic causes in 39.3% of cases. The majority of tracheostomies (80.4%) were performed as an emergency. Transverse skin crease incision was employed in all the cases. Post-tracheostomy complication rate was 21.5%. Complication rate was significantly higher in emergency tracheostomy than in electives (P < 0.001). The duration of temporary tracheostomy ranged from 8 days to 46 months, with a median duration of 4 months. Tracheostomy decannulation was successively performed in 72.4% of patients who survived. Mortality rate was 13.6%. The mortality was due to their underlying illnesses, none had tracheostomy-related mortality.


Upper airway obstruction secondary to trauma and laryngeal tumors still remains the most common indication for tracheostomy in our centre and tracheostomy is still a life saving procedure in the surgical management of airway despite complications which are seen more commonly in paediatric patients. Most of tracheostomy related complications can be avoided by meticulous attention to the details of the technique and postoperative tracheostomy care by skilled and trained staff.

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