Emergency Respiratory Care and Resuscitation in Laryngectomees

By: Itzhak Brook, M.D. MSc., HNCA Board Member, HNCA Ambassador, Throat Cancer Survivor, and Laryngectomee

I wanted to bring to your attention a very important issue regarding the proper intubation of laryngectomees.

Laryngectomees are at an increased risk of receiving inappropriate care when they need CPR or general anesthesia. Our recently published study in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery showed that over half of US and UK otolaryngologist respondents reported more than one instance of attempted oral intubations among patients with a laryngectomy, with a mortality rate of 26%.

The data underscore the critical importance of staff education, patient engagement, effective signage, and systems-based best practices to reliably clarify neck breather status and provide necessary resources for safe patient airway management.

I hope that your institution would take the educational steps required to address these issues.

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I still struggle some days, and the months after my diagnosis were the most trying, difficult, and painful of my life. But my medical team was amazing. My community took care of me. And upon reflection, I have fond memories of the strong friendships I have and the power of family.Ryan Gainor
Stage IV Tongue Cancer Survivor


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