In light of the current debate regarding cricothyroidotomy, we elected to study the procedure at our institution. Cricothyroidotomy was instituted whenever tracheotomy was necessary for airway management. After a fairly short period of time, some significant complications of cricothyroidotomy were apparent and the study was aborted prior to achieving statistically significant results. The report reviews 15 consecutive cricothyroidotomies. Five (33%) developed significant complications requiring surgical intervention. Of the five, two had life-threatening airway obstruction. The major underlying factor in patients who developed complications was prolonged intubation prior to the institution of cricothyroidotomy. The study suggests that cricothyroidotomy should not be performed after prolonged intubation. The issue of primary cricothyroidotomy for short-term airway control remains unanswered.
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