DuraPrep and the risk of fire during tracheostomy

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27 Scopus citations


Background. DuraPrep is a widely used, alcohol-based surgical prep solution. The risk of surgical fire associated with incomplete drying of this agent in the context of electrosurgical procedures has been described previously. To date, there have been no reports of fire during tracheostomy associated with a flammable prep agent before entering the airway. We describe an operating room fire occurring during awake tracheostomy associated with the use of DuraPrep. Methods. A 62-year-old man with copious body hair underwent tracheostomy in the operating room. The neck was prepared with DuraPrep surgical solution, and after at least 3 minutes, the operative field was draped. Activation of electrocautery ignited a fire, and the patient was burned on his neck and shoulders. Results. The fire was extinguished, and the patient recovered from both the tracheostomy and the burns. Conclusion. This case illustrates that DuraPrep should be avoided in the hirsute patient, because body hair interferes with drying of this solution and increases the risk of fire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-652
Number of pages4
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • DuraPrep
  • Fire
  • Operating room
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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