Background: Percutaneous dilatation tracheostomy (PDT) is required in patients with novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) with severe respiratory involvement, but the procedure needs modification to minimize the risk of aerosol exposure to caregivers.
Aim and objective: To share the experience of apnea approach of PDT in COVID patients. Also, to demonstrate the safety of the technique for healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients with respect to hemodynamic and oxygenation parameters. The incidence of adverse events and difficulties during the procedure were also recorded.
Materials and methods: According to this modified approach, percutaneous tracheostomy was performed with apnea technique during open tracheal steps (video attached) and the endotracheal tube was withdrawn to the level of cords under video-laryngoscopic guidance.
Study design: A retrospective data analysis of all the tracheostomy procedures (PDT) performed with the apnea technique during the COVID era (June–September) in non-COVID and COVID patients in intensive care units (ICUs).
Results: During these 4 months, 74 PDT procedures were performed in both COVID and non-COVID patients in the ICUs of our hospital. Out of these, PDT with apnea technique was performed in 45 patients (61%). This technique was successful in 44 patients (97.7%) with mean apnea time of 110 + 8.6 seconds. There was no significant (p < 0.05) change in mean arterial pressure and oxygen saturation of 15 COVID patients in pre-PDT and immediate post-PDT period. None of the six team members performing PDT had symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.
Conclusion: PDT with apnea technique can be performed to minimize the risk of aerosol exposure and does not compromise the quality of care. It is safe both for the patient and HCWs.
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