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Keywords:

  • T-tube;
  • Montgomery T-tube;
  • tracheal stenosis;
  • subglottic stenosis;
  • airway obstruction

Abstract

Although they are extremely effective in maintaining tracheal and subglottic patency, T-tubes themselves can result in airway obstruction from plugging. Many practitioners educate patients on placing a small (5.0) endotracheal tube (ETT) through the tracheal limb of the T-tube if they develop airway obstruction. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult task to complete during acute airway obstruction. In this article, we describe a simple set of steps for rapid relief of airway obstruction and stabilization of the airway in the event of T-tube obstruction. This method requires removal of the T-tube with a Kelly clamp and stabilization of the airway with a tracheostomy tube. Although it is simple, we hope that this technique will prevent morbidity and mortality from acute airway obstructions related to T-tubes.