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 The Internet Journal of Emergency and Intensive Care MedicineTM ISSN 1092-4051

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In Memory Of Pasquale Ciaglia

J. L. Nates, M.D., Assistant Professor
Director Neurosciences ICU
Neurosurgery, Anesthesia/Critical Care
University of Texas-Houston
Houston, Texas


Nates, J. In Memory Of Pasquale Ciaglia. The Internet Journal of Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine 2001 Vol5N2: [www.icaap.org/iuicode?]


In Memory of Pasquale Ciaglia

Percutaneous tracheostomy was first introduced by Shelden et al. in 1955 (1), however, it was not until P. Ciaglia’s description of his novel technique in 1985 (2) that this approach started to spread around the USA and the rest of the world. Regardless of the multiple imitations since then, his technique has become a synonym of percutaneous tracheostomy to the point that many clinicians are not yet aware of the several techniques available (3). In my opinion, this confusion led to the lack of appropriate recognition of the amazing success of his technique (4) despite its impact in patient care since Ciaglia’s publication (5 6 7 8 9 10).

Dr. Ciaglia died a year ago, but not without taking his technique a step further by developing a promising simplified version of the original with multiple dilators (11). He was a wonderful human being, a caring physician, and had a great sense of humor and manners. He was truly a gentleman with a great mind; we will miss him and his poetic and scientific talents.

I could say many other things about him and still I would feel I have not said enough. Instead, and to honor him in this issue, we publish the obituary he wrote for himself titled “Obitulogy” (12).

Joseph L. Nates, M.D.

Editor-in-Chief IJEICM


1. Shelden CH, Pudenz RH, Freshwater DB, et al: A new method for tracheostomy. J Neurosurg 1955; 12:428-431.

2. Ciaglia P, Firshing R, Syniec C: Elective percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy. A new simple bedside procedure; preliminary report. Chest 1985; 87:715-719.

3. Nates JL, Joseph M. Percutaneous Tracheostomy Techniques. Anesth Analg 1999; 89:1064-5.

4. Dulguerov P, Gysin C, Perneger TV, Chevrolet JC. Percutaneous or surgical tracheostomy: a meta-analysis. Crit Care Med 1999; 27(8): 1617-25.

5. Rodriguez JL, Steinberg SM, Luchetti FA, et al: Early tracheostomy for primary airway management in the surgical critical care setting. Surgery 1990; 108:655-659.

6. D'Amelio LE, Hammond JS, Spain DA, et al: Tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in the management of the head-injury trauma patient. Am Surg 1996; 3: 180-185.

7. Ivatury R, Siegel JH, Stahl WM, et al: Percutaneous tracheostomy after trauma and critical illness. J Trauma 1992; 32:133-140.

8. Friedman Y: Indications, timing, techniques, and complications of tracheostomy in the critically ill. Curr Opinion in Crit Care 1996; 2:47-53.

9. Friedman Y, Fildes J, Mizock B, et al: Comparison of percutaneous and surgical tracheostomies. Chest 1996; 110:480-485.

10. Nates JL, Cooper DJ, Scheinkestel C, Tuxen D. Percutaneous tracheostomy in critically ill patients: A prospective, randomized comparison of two techniques. Crit Care Med 2000; 28: 3734-3739.

11. Byhahn C, Lischke V, Halbig S, Scheifler G, Westphal K. Ciaglia blue rhino: a modified technique for percutaneous dilatation tracheostomy. Technique and early clinical results. Anaesthesist 2000; 49(3): 202-6.

12. Ciaglia P. Obitulogy. IJEICM 2001; 5(2)