1/1. Tracheo-innominate artery fistula after percutaneous tracheostomy: three case reports and a clinical review. Tracheo-innominate artery fistula (TIF) is an uncommon yet life threatening complication after a tracheostomy. Rates of 0.1-1% after surgical tracheostomy have been reported, with a peak incidence at 7-14 days post procedure. It is usually fatal unless treatment is instituted immediately. Initial case reports of TIF resulted from surgically performed tracheostomies. We present three fatalities attributable to TIF, confirmed by histopathology, after percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT). The use of PDT has resulted in tracheostomies being performed by specialists from different backgrounds and the incidence of this complication may be increasing. pressure necrosis from high cuff pressure, mucosal trauma from malpositioned cannula tip, low tracheal incision, radiotherapy and prolonged intubation are all implicated in TIF formation. Massive haemorrhage occurring 3 days to 6 weeks after tracheostomy is a result of TIF until proven otherwise. We present a simple algorithm for management of this situation. The manoeuvres outlined will control bleeding in more than 80% of patients by a direct tamponade effect. Surgical stasis is obtained by debriding the innominate artery proximally, then transecting and closing the lumen. Neurological sequelae are few. Post-mortem diagnosis of TIF may be difficult, but specific pathology request should be made to assess innominate artery abnormalities.
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keywords = haemorrhage
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