Tracheal Stenosis After Tracheostomy for Mechanical Ventilation in COVID-19 Pneumonia – A Report of 2 Cases from Northern Italy
Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Management of emergency care
Carmine Fernando Gervasio, Gianluca Averono, Luca Robiolio, Massimo Bertoletti, Umberto Colageo, Luca De Col, Fabio Bertone
Department of Otolaryngology, Nuovo Ospedale Degli Infermi (New Hospital for the Sick), Biella, Italy
Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e926731
Available online: 2020-08-05
The role of tracheostomy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still to be determined, and the complication rate of the tracheostomy in COVID-19 patients is still unknown. Postintubation tracheal stenosis is a well-known risk of prolonged endotracheal intubation, but it is too early to define the existence of any difference among the COVID-19 cohort of patients and non-COVID-19 patients.
This report is of 2 cases of COVID-19 pneumonia that required tracheostomy and prolonged endotracheal intubation, which were followed by delayed tracheal stenosis.
CASE REPORT: Case 1. A 54-year-old male was admitted to our hospital (Biella, Italy) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The patient underwent orotracheal intubation, progressively improving his breathing function, and was discharged after 20 days.
Ten days later, the patient presented with severe respiratory distress. Computed tomography (CT) scan and bronchoscopy showed signs of tracheal stenosis. We administered intravenous steroids for 10 days. The patient showed increasing improvement in his breathing function and was discharged with no other signs of respiratory distress.
Case 2. A 43-year-old male was admitted to our hospital for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The patient underwent orotracheal intubation, progressively improving his breathing function, and was discharged after 25 days.
Eighteen days later, the patient came to our emergency room with severe respiratory distress. CT scan and bronchoscopy showed signs of tracheal stenosis. The patient had to undergo tracheal resection.
CONCLUSIONS: The 2 cases presented in this report have shown that even when patients recover from severe COVID-19 pneumonia requiring tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation, tracheal stenosis should be recognized as a potential complication and careful follow-up is required.
Keywords: COVID-19, tracheal stenosis, Tracheotomy