What are the possible complications of bacterial tracheitis?

Updated: Nov 26, 2018
  • Author: Sujatha Rajan, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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The following complications have been reported:

  • Pneumonia - Reported in 19-60% of cases (Guidelines for avoiding health care–associated pneumonia have been established. [14] )

  • Septicemia

  • Toxic shock

  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

  • Endotracheal tube complications

    • Plugging, accidental extubation

    • Postextubation stridor, subglottic stenosis

  • Anoxic encephalopathy

  • Cardiorespiratory arrest

A retrospective study by Gross et al, in which four patients who received antibiotic treatment for bacterial laryngotracheitis showed improvement in presumed iatrogenic laryngotracheal stenosis, suggested that airway bacterial growth is significantly involved in adult postintubation airway injury. The patients had a history of intubation and/or tracheostomy, with complete resolution of upper airway obstruction seen in three of the patients after laryngotracheitis treatment and significant improvement of airway status seen in the fourth. [15]

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