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VOLUME 21 , ISSUE 6 ( 2017 ) > List of Articles


Blunt trauma neck with complete tracheal transection a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to the trauma team

D. Anandhi, R. Surendar, Ashwith Shetty, Vinay R. Pandit

Keywords : Cannot intubate cannot ventilate, complete tracheal transection, surgical airway

Citation Information : Anandhi D, Surendar R, Shetty A, Pandit VR. Blunt trauma neck with complete tracheal transection a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to the trauma team. Indian J Crit Care Med 2017; 21 (6):404-407.

DOI: 10.4103/ijccm.IJCCM_103_17

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-06-2017

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2017; The Author(s).


Survival following trachea-esophageal transection is uncommon. Establishing a secure airway has the highest priority in trauma management. Airway management is a unique and a defining element to the specialty of emergency medicine. There is no doubt regarding the significance of establishing a patent airway in the critically ill patient in the emergency department. Cannot intubate and cannot ventilate situation is a nightmare to all emergency physicians. The most important take-home message from this case report is that every Emergency physician should have the ability to predict “difficult airway” and recognize “failed airway” very early and be skilled in performing rescue techniques when routine oral-tracheal intubation fails. Any delay at any step in the “failed airway” management algorithm may not save the critically ill dying patient. Here, we report a case of blunt trauma following high-velocity road traffic accident, presenting in the peri-arrest state, in whom we noticed “failed airway” which turned out to be due to complete tracheal transection. In our patient, although we had secured the airway immediately, he had already sustained hypoxic brain damage. This scenario emphasizes the importance of prehospital care in developing countries.

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