External light guidance for percutaneous dilatational tracheotomy

Ivan H. El-Sayed, James E. Ho, David W. Eisele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Percutaneous dilatational tracheotomy (PDT) is considered a safe technique; however, there is still room for improvement. We present our initial experience with an external white light guide to position the endotracheal tube and guide needle placement during PDT. Methods: This is a retrospective series of 15 consecutive patients undergoing external light-guided PDT. A white light source was placed on the anterior trachea wall externally and the transmitted light was identified in the tracheal lumen with a bronchoscopic to predict the needle entrance point. Results: The transmitted light was rapidly identified in all 15 patients, facilitated endotracheal tube tip placement in the subglottis in approximately 10 seconds in 13 of 15 patients, and predicted needle penetration into the trachea within 1 to 2 mm of the external light in all patients. Conclusion:s External light guidance facilitates rapid, accurate placement of the needle through the tracheal wall and can reduce surgeon anxiety, especially in teaching situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1209
Number of pages4
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • ELG
  • PDT
  • external light
  • guided
  • percutaneous tracheotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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