Complications of airway management

Paulette C. Pacheco-Lopez, Lauren C. Berkow, Alexander T. Hillel, Lee M. Akst

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Although endotracheal intubation is commonly performed in the hospital setting, it is not without risk. In this article, we review the impact of endotracheal intubation on airway injury by describing the acute and long-term sequelae of each of the most commonly injured anatomic sites along the respiratory tract, including the nasal cavity, oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx, and trachea. Injuries covered include nasoseptal injury, tongue injury, dental injury, mucosal lacerations, vocal cord immobility, and laryngotracheal stenosis, as well as tracheomalacia, tracheoinnominate, and tracheoesophageal fistulas. We discuss the proposed mechanisms of tissue damage that relate to each and present their most common clinical manifestations, along with their respective diagnostic and management options. This article also includes a review of complications of airway management pertaining to video laryngoscopy and supraglottic airway devices. Finally, potential strategies to prevent intubation-associated injuries are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1021
Number of pages16
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event52nd Conference on Adult Artificial Airways and Airway Adjuncts - St. Petersburg, FL, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2013Jun 15 2013


  • Airway complications
  • Intubation
  • Subglottic stenosis
  • Vocal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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