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Chang Gung Med J. 2005 Mar;28(3):186-90.

Tracheostomal fire during an elective tracheostomy.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC.


Some surgeries, a tracheostomy and oral surgeries in particular, have a higher risk of fire. Often it can occur when leaking flammable gas contacts an ignition heat source. Fire during a tracheostomy can sometimes be seen to produce different degrees of insult to the patient. The essential components of a fire, i.e., the fuel source, ignition, and an oxidizer, can be avoided or blocked in order to prevent fires from occurring. Herein, we discuss a fire during a tracheotomy, and ways to avoid its occurrence, and how to stop once it gets started. This case demonstrates 2 important points regarding tracheostomies. First, extreme caution should be exercised when cautery is used in an approximately 100% oxygen gaseous condition, and second, immediate extubation is not absolutely necessary if a fire breaks out during a tracheostomy. The procedures which can be taken when facing this type of emergency are also considered and discussed.

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