Safe tracheotomy for patients with COVID-19

Cecilia Botti, Francesca Lusetti, Andrea Castellucci, Massimo Costantini, Angelo Ghidini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 disease (COVID-19) with respiratory distress may need invasive mechanical ventilation for a long period of time. Head and neck surgeons are becoming increasingly involved in the care of COVID-19 patients because of the rapidly increasing number of tracheotomies required. This procedure, when performed without protection, may lead to the infection of the medical and nursing staff caring for the patient. The aim of this report is to share our protocol for performing a safe surgical tracheotomy in COVID-19 patients. Infection of the nursing/medical staff involved in the first 30 tracheotomies performed in patients affected by COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary referral center were evaluated. Mistakes that occurred during surgery were analyzed and discussed. None of the nursing/medical staff presented signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within 15 days after the procedure. Conclusion: The authors have prepared a protocol for performing a safe surgical tracheotomy in patients affected by COVID-19. Surgeons who might be involved in performing the tracheotomies should become familiar with these guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102533
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 16 2020


  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics/prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors
  • Tracheostomy
  • Tracheotomy

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