World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 266–269

Chest X-ray after Tracheostomy Is Not Necessary Unless Clinically Indicated

  • William D. ToblerJr.
  • Juan R. Mella
  • Joanna Ng
  • Anand Selvam
  • Peter A. Burke
  • Suresh Agarwal
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00268-011-1380-4

Cite this article as:
Tobler, W.D., Mella, J.R., Ng, J. et al. World J Surg (2012) 36: 266. doi:10.1007/s00268-011-1380-4

Abstract

Background

Chest radiography is routinely used post-tracheostomy to evaluate for complications. Often, the chest X-ray findings do not change clinical management. The present study was conducted to evaluate the utility of post-tracheostomy X-rays.

Method

This retrospective review of 255 patients was performed at a single-center, university, level I trauma center. All patients underwent tracheostomy and were evaluated for postprocedure complications.

Results

Of the 255 patients, 95.7% had no change in postprocedure chest X-ray findings. New significant chest X-ray findings were found in 4.3% of patients, including subcutaneous emphysema, pneumothorax, and new significant consolidation. Only three of these patients required change in clinical management, and all changes were based on clinical presentation alone.

Conclusions

Routine chest X-ray following tracheostomy fails to provide additional information beyond clinical examination. Therefore radiographic examination should be performed only after technically difficult procedures or if the patient experiences clinical deterioration. Significant cost savings and minimization of radiation exposure can be achieved when chest radiography after tracheostomy is performed exclusively for clinical indications.

Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. ToblerJr.
    • 1
  • Juan R. Mella
    • 1
  • Joanna Ng
    • 1
  • Anand Selvam
    • 1
  • Peter A. Burke
    • 1
  • Suresh Agarwal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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