Comparison of tracheoscopy and portable chest X-Ray in the evaluation of infant tracheostomy tube position

Allison Keane, Robert A. Saadi, Einat Slonimsky, Meghan Wilson, Jason May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To compare tracheoscopy and chest radiograph measurements of tracheostomy tube position in infants. Study design: Retrospective chart review. Setting: Otolaryngology Department at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Subjects and methods: All cases of pediatric patients who underwent tracheotomy at less than 1 year of age from 2014 to 2019 were reviewed. Patients were included if they had both intraoperative measurement of tracheostomy tube position relative to the carina by tracheoscopy and postoperative chest radiograph. Documented intraoperative findings were compared to measurements made on chest radiograph by an attending radiologist blinded to the intraoperative measurements. Results: The study included 66 patients; 30 patients (14:16, M:F) had available data. The mean distance from the distal tracheostomy tube to the carina measured by tracheoscopy was 8.88 mm (range, 3.5–20 mm) and measured radiographically was 11.71 mm (range, 2.4–23.3 mm). The mean difference between the measurements was 2.82 mm (p-value = 0.016). Ninety percent (n = 27) of patients had measurements that differed by greater than 2 mm; 53% (n = 16) had measurements that differed by 5 mm and 1% (n = 3) had measurements differing by greater than 10 mm. Conclusion: In the infant population, significant discrepancy was found between direct tracheoscopy and chest radiograph measurements of the tracheostomy tube position. Measurements obtained by chest radiographs tend to overestimate the relative distance of the distal tracheostomy tube to the carina as compared to that of tracheoscopy. Clinical decisions regarding changes to tracheostomy tube sizes should mostly rely on tracheoscopy performed with the patient supine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110566
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Volume141
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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