Tongue engorgement with prolonged use of the esophageal-tracheal combitube

Brian P. McGlinch, David P. Martin, Gerald W. Volcheck, Stephen W. Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We report a case of massive tongue engorgement associated with placement of an esophageal-tracheal twin-lumen airway device (Combitube) in a morbidly obese patient. Approximately 4 hours after atraumatic placement of the Combitube, tongue swelling occurred. An emergency tracheostomy was needed for airway management before removal of the Combitube. Ischemia-reperfusion injury or compression of glossal blood vessels, specifically lingual veins, was the most likely cause for the patient's tongue engorgement. An exhaustive search for other causes revealed nothing. Prolonged use of the Combitube may incur greater risk of airway complications such as tongue engorgement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-322
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN. Dr. Martin is supported in part by a Research Starter Grant from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research.

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