A survey of acute complications associated with endotracheal intubation

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ONE of the most common complaints after endotracheal intubation for surgical anesthesia is the sore throat in the immediately postoperative period. Often soreness continues, but with lessening severity, for from 24 to 48 hours. The symptoms complained of seldom require other than palliative treatment, and they are not accompanied or followed by permanent disability. In a rare instance, a fibrous adenoma may appear on the vocal cords, but the possibility of this complication is no contraindication to endotracheal intubation whenever it is appropriate for the anesthetic and surgical procedures contemplated.

This survey was made in order to review our experience with the postoperative adverse effects of endotracheal intubation, including sore throat, rhinitis, laryngitis, and tracheitis, and to discover, if possible, the causes. Examination of the patients revealed that lesions ranged from allergic manifestations to frank chemical irritations. The analysis included study of the process of sterilizing anesthetic equipment, as well as of the technic of conducting the anesthesia.

Method of Study

Four hundred nine patients (92 of whom were not intubated) were studied in the Recovery Room and in the Surgical Constant Care units of the Cleveland Clinic Hospital. A questionnaire (Fig. 1) was completed on each patient in the study. Whenever possible, the information given voluntarily by the patient was used; but when no information was volunteered, then a standard series of questions was asked to complete the questionnaire before the patient left the units. The study was designed to include the remainder of the day of operation or . . .



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