Introduction: The history of tracheotomy

Zahra Karparvar, David Goldenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


Case presentation In 1799, Elisha Cullen Dick, a former pupil of Benjamin Rush, was called to help attend to George Washington. Dr. Dick and two other physicians used copious bleeding in addition to other medical procedures. Dr. Dick suggested that a tracheotomy be performed to relieve the General’s obstructed airway. This suggestion was overruled and Washington died of obstruction from an upper airway infection. Introduction Tracheotomy is one of the oldest surgical procedures described, with written descriptions dating back to ancient Egypt and India. Its safety and necessity have been controversial for centuries. The indications and techniques for tracheotomy have changed and expanded over time. Today, due to advances in intensive care medicine and the widespread use of mechanical ventilation, tracheotomy is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Owing to its increased prevalence, it is encountered on a regular basis by physicians in all fields of medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTracheotomy Management
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780511977787
ISBN (Print)9780521196918
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Karparvar, Z., & Goldenberg, D. (2011). Introduction: The history of tracheotomy. In Tracheotomy Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach (pp. 1-11). Cambridge University Press.