The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Translaryngeal tracheostomy (TLT), in August 2013.


Tracheostomy is commonly carried out for patients in intensive care to maintain their airway, to remove excessive airway secretions and to enable them to be weaned from mechanical ventilation. This may be performed surgically but anaesthetists and intensive care physicians usually perform the procedure using a percutaneous technique, inserting a tube from the outside of the neck into the trachea, using a various devices and, commonly under endoscopic guidance.

The translaryngeal tracheostomy technique may lead to lower rates of bleeding, trauma and infection to the tissues surrounding the insertion area, compared with surgical and other percutaneous techniques. It may also avoid the risk of damage to the posterior wall of the trachea and tracheal rings, because of a lack of external compression during insertion.

Coding recommendations

E42.3 Temporary tracheostomy

Y76.3 Endoscopic approach to other body cavity

Your responsibility

This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, and specifically any special arrangements relating to the introduction of new interventional procedures. The guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer. 

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties. Providers should ensure that governance structures are in place to review, authorise and monitor the introduction of new devices and procedures.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)