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21 November 2022 : Case report  Japan

[In Press] A Novel Case Report of Iatrogenic Tracheal Rupture Caused by a Laser-Resistant Endotracheal Tube Under Transoral Laser Laryngeal and Nasopharyngeal Surgery

Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents

Yoko Shimamoto1ABDEF, Michiyoshi Sanuki1ABDEF, Shigetaki Kurita1BE, Masaya Ueki1B, Yoshie Kuwahara1B

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.938357

Am J Case Rep In Press; DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.938357  

Available online: 2022-11-21, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication. The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule


Intraoperative tracheal rupture due to endotracheal intubation is a rare but serious complication that requires prompt responses. Transoral laser microsurgery is effective for dissection of laryngeal and nasopharyngeal lesions, and a laser-resistant endotracheal tube is therefore commonly used under general anesthesia.
We present the case of a 69-year-old man in whom a rare complication involving endotracheal tube tip dislodgement during transoral laser surgery led to iatrogenic tracheal rupture. We used a Laser-Flex cuffed endotracheal tube, which is a non-inflammable, armored stainless-steel tube with a Murphy eye. Repeated mobilization of the laryngoscope blade and excessive neck extension for adequate laryngeal exposure during surgery may have led to significant soft tissue swelling and tube tip displacement, inducing tracheal rupture with the keen edge of the Murphy eye. At the end of the surgical procedure, subcutaneous emphysema was observed in the right anterior neck. Computed tomography revealed subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum without esophageal injury or mediastinitis. The injury was 1 cm in length, with wall involvement to a depth to the muscular wall in the membranous trachea at a point 2 cm proximal to the carina, in which we could position the alternative endotracheal tube distal to the tracheal rupture. After conservative treatment, the patient was extubated and mechanical ventilation was ceased.
During transoral laser laryngeal and nasopharyngeal surgery, dislodgement of the laser-resistant endotracheal tube tip can lead to iatrogenic tracheal rupture. In this case, injury during application of a Laser-Flex cuffed endotracheal tube with a Murphy eye, was followed by conservative treatment. This treatment achieved a successful outcome.

Keywords: Laser Therapy; Postoperative Complications; Subcutaneous Emphysema


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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923