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Emergency tracheostomy for failed intubation due to glottic stenosis
  1. Tessa Yap,
  2. Mark Quick and
  3. Paige Moore
  1. ENT/Otolaryngology, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tessa Yap; tessa.yap{at}


Glottic stenosis can be an unexpected finding during an intubation, causing difficulties that may result in a ‘can’t intubate, can’t ventilate’ situation. We present a case of a patient who required an emergency tracheostomy, in the setting of a failed intubation secondary to glottic stenosis. The patient underwent open laryngotracheal reconstruction, followed by tracheostomy decannulation 2 months post-surgery. This paper highlights the importance of awareness of laryngeal pathology masquerading as respiratory conditions. It also outlines the critical approach to managing ‘can’t intubate, can’t ventilate’ situations.

  • ear
  • nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • anaesthesia
  • head and neck surgery
  • otolaryngology / ENT

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  • Contributors TY was the primary author of the case report, receiving guidance in regard to content and key points from MQ and PM. Editing was performed by TY and MQ. Images were supplied by PM.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.