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HOME > Acute Crit Care > Volume 14(2); 1999 > Article
Original Article Incidence of Pulmonary Aspiration in Patients with Tracheostomy
Keon Sik Kim, Dong Soo Kim, Wha Ja Kang, Young Kyu Choi, Ok Young Shin, Doo Ik Lee, Moo Il Kwon

Department of Anesthesiology, Kyunghee University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
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BACKGOUND: Patients with tracheostomy tubes have altered glottic closure in deglutition that may result in aspiration and may cause dangerous pulmonary complication including bronchopneumonia and atelectasis. The incidence of pulmonary aspiration in patients with tracheosomy may be high but difficult to determine because investigators often apply different criteria. The present study was prepared to document the incidence of aspiration in patients with tracheostomy using a simple dye-marker test.
Thirty six surgical and medical patients (14 male and 22 female) in ICU with tracheostomy tube (high volume, low pressure cuffed tube) were included in this study. Mental status (presence of response to verbal command), the presence of nasogastric tube and the presence of ventilatory support were recorded in each patients to evaluate the effect of these factors on the incidence of aspiration. 1% solution of methylene blue dye was applied on the both side of posterior tongue and then any evidence of the blue dye-marker obtained microscopically on secretion through the tracheostomy tube at every 2 hours during 72 hours was considered the positive evidence of aspiration.
Aspiration was detected by a positive methylene blue dye test in 11 of the 36 patients (30.5%) and average length of time before blue dye was obtained on tracheal secretion was 8.2 7.3 hours.The presence of response to verbal command, nasogastric tube and ventilatory support had no apparent effect on the incidence of aspiration.
This observation suggests that a simple test using dye-maker is helpful to detect aspiration in patients with tracheostomy. Tracheostomy should be done under discreet decision because the high incidence of aspiration in trcheostomized patients.

ACC : Acute and Critical Care