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Poster presentation | Open | Published:

Percutaneous dilatation tracheostomy in critically ill patients with documented coagulopathy


Percutaneous tracheostomy techniques are gaining greater popularity in ICUs. Refinement of the percutaneous tracheostomy technique has made this a straightforward and safe procedure in appropriately selected patients. Generally, coagulopathy is a relative contraindication for surgical tracheotomy. We sought to determine its usage in high-risk patients with documented coagulopathy.


Twenty critically ill patients with coagulopathy (International Normalized Ratio (INR) ≥ 1.5) underwent elective percutaneous tracheostomy using a Portex percutaneous tracheostomy kit (Ultraperc). The Ciaglia Blue Rhino single-stage dilator set was used in all cases and the same intensivists performed all of the tracheotomies


There were 17 patients with an INR > 1.5, two patients were on a heparin drip, and one patient had a platelet count <20,000. One patient included in the study met requirements for two categories with a platelet count of 17,000 and an INR of 1.7. The procedural times ranged from 3 to 5 minutes. Apart from minor bleeding episodes during and after the procedures in three patients, which were controlled promptly, no other complications occurred; average estimated blood loss was around 5–10 ml.


In trained hands with careful precautions, we believe that percutaneous tracheostomy is safe even in patients with documented coagulopathy.


  1. 1.

    Aoyagi M: Percutaneous tracheostomy to the patient with coagulopathy. Jpn J Anesthesiol 2005, 54: 153-155.

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  • International Normalize Ratio
  • Estimate Blood Loss
  • Bleeding Episode
  • Relative Contraindication
  • Minor Bleeding