Managing complications of percutaneous tracheostomy and gastrostomy

Academic Article


  • Percutaneous tracheostomy and gastrostomy are some of the most commonly performed procedures at bedside in the intensive care unit. While they are generally considered safe, they can be associated with numerous short and long-term complications, many of which can occur long after their placement and cause significant morbidity. Performers of these procedures should possess a comprehensive understanding of procedural indications and contraindications, and know how to recognize and manage complications that may arise. In this review, we highlight complications of percutaneous tracheostomy and describe strategies for their prevention and management, with a special focus on post-tracheostomy tracheal stenosis. Other complications reviewed include bleeding, pneumothorax and subcutaneous emphysema, posterior wall injury, tube displacement, tracheomalacia, tracheoinominate artery fistula, tracheo-esophageal fistula, and stomal cellulitis. Gastrostomy complications and their management are also discussed including bleeding, internal organ injury, necrotizing fasciitis, aspiration pneumonia, buried bumper syndrome, tumor seeding, wound infection, tube displacement, peristomal leakage, and gastric outlet obstruction. In light of the potentially serious outcomes associated with complications of percutaneous tracheostomy and gastrostomy, the emphasis should be placed on risk-reduction strategies to minimize morbidity and mortality. We therefore present detailed pragmatic and comprehensive checklists to serve as a reference for clinicians involved in performing these procedures.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zouk AN; Batra H
  • Start Page

  • 5314
  • End Page

  • 5330
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 8