Background: Airway management in patients with tumors involving the aerodigestive tract can be a challenge as a result of late presentation. Objective: To determine the clinical characteristics of tracheostomy done for patients presenting with tumors in the aerodigestive tract. Methods: A chart review of patients presenting with various tumors in the aerodigestive tract over a 6-year period. Data was analyzed for age, gender, presenting symptoms, duration of symptoms, and diagnosis at presentation, immediate airway intervention measures, definitive intervention and outcome. Results: 52 (35.4%) had tracheostomy, age ranging 2 years to 82 years (Median= 49 years) constituting 48 males and 4 females (M:F= 12:1). Patients in the 6th and 7th decades of life were in the majority. 40 (76.9%) emergency tracheostomies were performed of which 38 (95%) were awake tracheostomies. Post-operative complication rate was 15.4%. Commonest presenting complaint was dyspnea (n= 20; 38.5%). Laryngeal cancer was recorded in 67.3%. Mean length of hospital stay was 6.5-days; SD= ±4.4. No statistical correlation was found between patients’ length of hospital stay and emergency intervention offered (r= -0.89; p= 0.528) and definitive interventions (r= 0.221; p= 0.115). A case fatality rate of 7.7%, unrelated to tracheostomy was recorded. Conclusion: Laryngeal cancer was the commonest indication for tracheostomy in this study. Tracheostomy in aerodigestive tract tumors is safe and effective.
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