The Cricothyrotomy Part 3: Pediatric Points

a blog series on emergency medicine procedures

PEDIATRIC POINTS

In our last 2 posts (the cricothyrotomy part 1 and the cricothyrotomy part 2), we focused on adults. That is because the open surgical airway is often contraindicated in children as we discuss below, and there is an alternative method depending on age.

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PEARL: the cricothyroid membrane in children is significantly different…

Ped cric anat

From Roberts and Hedges’ Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine, 6th ed, 2013

  • Smaller
  • More anterior
  • Funnel shape
  • Structures like the larynx are more difficult to stabilize

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PEARL: in the majority of cases, open surgical cric on children is contraindicated

  • Children younger than 10-12 years old should not have an open surgical cricothyrotomy according to most emergency medicine textbooks
  • Why: risk of injuring important structures due to the anatomical differences listed above
  • Instead, if a non-invasive airway is impossible, perform a percutaneous needle cricothyrotomy

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PEARL: what type of ventilation to use

  • Bag ventilate if the patient is < 5 years old (risk of barotrauma with jet)
  • Jet ventilate if the patient is greater than 5 years old

 

SUMMARY

Child < 10-12 years old, cannot intubate, cannot ventilate, and rescue airway devices not working? Perform percutaneous needle cricothyrotomy (see below).

< 5 years old? Bag ventilate.

> 5 years old? Jet ventilate.

 

TECHNIQUE

  • Percutaneous needle puncture of the cricothyroid membrane
  • Translaryngeal ventilation (PTLV) by jet insufflation OR bag insufflation (age dependent)

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From Roberts and Hedges’ Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine, 6th ed, 2013

From Beck et al, Academic Emergency Medicine, Percutaneous Transtracheal Jet Ventilation, 2011 

 

Please also view these resources from our own Brown faculty!

Dr. Valente Sim Video 

Procedurettes Junior Jet Job

 

PLEASE SHARE ANY PEDIATRIC POINTS ON THE CRICOTHYROTOMY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION! 

 

Textbook References

Hebert R, Bose S, Mace. Cricothyrotomy and Percutaneous Translaryngeal Ventilation. Chapter 6, 120-133.e2. In: Roberts J, et al. Roberts & Hedges’ Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th Saunders; 2013.

Smith M. Surgical Airway Management. In: Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2011.

Walls RM: Airway. In Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM: Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice, 6th ed, vol. 1. Philadelphia, Elsevier, 2006, pp 2-25.

Image References

Hebert R, et al. Cricothyrotomy. In: Procedures Consult. Elsevier; 2008.

Authorship

Faculty Reviewers: Gita Pensa MD and David Lindquist MD 

Author: Jonathan Ameli MD

 

3 thoughts on “The Cricothyrotomy Part 3: Pediatric Points

  1. Nice write up Dr. Ameli!

    Just a few pointers:

    1) Percutaneous ventilation with needle crich with jet ventilation/bag is really only a BRIDGE until definitive surgical airway can be established. (i.e. trach or open crich)

    2) Percutaneous ventilation with needle crich with jet ventilation/bag will allow you to oxygenate a 30kg subject/patient for about 30 minutes. They will retain CO2. Goal is to oxygenate. These are estimates only based off animal model data.

  2. Pingback: The Cricothyrotomy Part 2: Pearls, Pitfalls, and Troubleshooting | Brown Emergency Medicine

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