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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2007 Apr;51(4):509-13.

Fatal inhalation injury caused by airway fire during tracheostomy.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, ENT Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


A 45-year-old man needed emergency tracheostomy and cranioplasty. He was intubated with a cuffed oral polyvinylchloride endotracheal tube and ventilated with 100% oxygen before tracheal incision. During opening of the trachea using diathermy, a popping sound was heard and flames originating from the tracheal incision were observed. The endotracheal tube was charred and its lumen had melted. Immediately after the incident, bronchofibroscopic examination revealed inhalation injury. After remaining for 8 weeks in hospital, the patient was transferred to a health care centre, where he was found dead in his bed.

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