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Airway Complications and Outcome after Thyroidectomy in Ibadan: A 15 Year Review

Ayandipo OO, Adigun TA, Afuwape OO, Afolabi AO, Daniel A

Introduction: Thyroidectomy is one of the frequent major surgeries performed by the general surgery unit. There are challenges encountered with patent airway maintenance during preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative periods. The objective of this study was to review the airway complications and outcome after thyroidectomy in our centre.

Patients and Methods: This is a cross-sectional retrospective study of all the thyroidectomies performed from 2001-2015. The data collected included the demographic profile, postoperative airway complications and the outcome of management. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16.

Results: Subjects included 507 patients. Majority were female 86%, age ranged 19-83 years and mean age of 38 ± 16 years. Simple multinodular goiter was the commonest type. Postoperative airway complications were observed in 65(12.8%) patients. This constituted of haematoma in 4(0.8%) patients, laryngeal nerve injury in 15(3.0%), laryngeal oedema in 19(3.7%) and tracheomalacia in 27(5.3%) patients. Three patients died of respiratory complications consisting of two patients with tracheomalacia and one with primary retrosternal goiter.

Conclusion: Airway complications are not uncommon after thyroidectomy and tracheomalacia caused the highest morbidity and mortality.