The use of silicone T tubes for intubation of malignant tracheobronchial strictures may provide some degree of palliation of this distressing condition. It was used in seven patients with malignant lesions and two with benign strictures (resulting from tracheal trauma and lung transplantation). Four patients (two with cancer) are still alive and well with the tube in position. All patients noted improvement in dyspnoea and stridor. The main problems were tube migration (one patient), tracheo-oesophageal fistula (one patient), and blockage of the tube by tumour (two patients) or encrusted secretions (three patients). Airway patency was restored when the tube was blocked by cleaning or by laser resection of the tumour. With careful supervision and education of the patient intubation can give useful palliation to patients with distressing upper airways obstruction.
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