Background: With recent technological advances reducing the demand for emergent surgical airway placement, surgeons are less often performing this life-saving procedure. We sought to assess the characteristics and outcomes surrounding patients undergoing modern emergent cricothyrotomy. Methods: A retrospective case series was performed between January 2010 and January 2020 at a single tertiary academic level 1 trauma center. Patients who underwent tracheostomy (CPT 31600, 31601) within 48 hours of admission or listed in the trauma registry were queried. Charts were individually reviewed to identify patients with cricothyrotomy. Demographic, operative and relevant hospital course data were collected. Results: A total of 1642 patients were identified with 12 of those found to have met inclusion criteria. The population was mostly male (91.7%) with an average age of 43 years and average body mass index of 30. Survival rate of patients was 75%. A total of 7 patients (58%) had appropriate anatomical placement of cricothyrotomy. Of those patients, 75% were performed by Trauma Surgery. Of the 5 patients with misplaced cricothyrotomy, all were male, with an average age and body mass index of 36 years and 25, respectively. Procedures were performed by prehospital personnel (20%), referring hospital (20%), and Trauma Surgery (60%). Discussion: Cricothyrotomy remains a vital tool in the successful management of emergent airway access. The most common complication observed was improper anatomical placement, which occurred in nearly half of patients. Trauma surgeons perform 75% of cricothyrotomies, with an anatomical accuracy rate of 66.7%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1246
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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