Table 1 Common complications of tracheostomies
Immediate (peri-operative)Early (<1 week)Late (>1 week)
HaemorrhageTube obstruction (mucus plug or blood)Haemorrhage (local tissue trauma/ erosion through major blood vessels)
Misplacement of tubePartial or complete tube obstruction
Tube occlusionInfectionTracheal stenosis/ tracheomalacia/ tracheocutaneous fistula
Loss of upper airwayUlceration/necrosis of trachea, mucosal ulceration due to tube migration
Surgical emphysemaScar formation
PneumothoraxRisk of occlusion in patients who have difficulty extending their neck (obese or fatigued)Tube obstruction or accidental decannulation
Granulation tissue