History and medicine - Tracheostomy and endotracheal intubation: A short history

Tiberiu Ezri*, Shmuel Evron, Henry Hadad, Yehuda Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The first descriptions of tracheostomy appear in old Hindu scripts around 2000 BC and Egyptian documents around 1500 BC. Since then, other reports in animals and humans established the tracheostomy as a life saving procedure. Vesalius in 1543 reported the first tracheal intubation in an animal. Trousseau reported 200 patients suffering from diphtheria who were saved by tracheostomy. In the early 1870's, Trendelenburg from Germany performed the first endotracheal anesthesia in man. Macewen in 1878 reported the first elective endotracheal intubation for anesthesia. He isolated the trachea by packing the hypopharynx, from leaking of blood and debris. Later, Rosenberg and Kuhn administered cocaine as local anesthetic to obtund the cough reflex during intubation. Tracheostomy and intubation have been broadly used during the First World War. Magill (1888-1986) recognized the advantages of tracheal intubation. Also, by his efforts, anesthesia has become an independent specialty. In 1913 the first anesthetic laryngoscope was invented by Jackson and modified by the Magill, Miller and Macintosh. In 1942, curare was introduced as a muscle relaxant for abdominal relaxation during general anesthesia and endotracheal intubation became routine in major abdominal and other surgeries. The article also reviews the Israeli contribution to the development of tracheostomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-893
Number of pages3
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2005


  • Complications
  • Endotracheal intubation
  • History
  • Tracheostomy
  • Upper airway


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