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Surgical Innovations »  Project Portfolio »  Spring 2017 »  Tracheostomy Alarm

Tracheostomy Alarm

A System to Sense Accidental Decannulation

Principal Investigator: David Conrad, MD
Team Members: Romain Roux, MTM

Conrad Acc


Tracheostomies are common in children and adults. While generally safe, tracheostomy tubes can become dislodged (accidental decannulation) or clogged over time. These events can be catastrophic if they go undetected by a caregiver, such as a healthcare provider, parent or spouse. Recognition of dislodgment and trach replacement is very time critical, as closure of the neck stoma may require hospital readmission and surgical re-insertion. In worse cases, patients may suffer anoxic brain injury or death from events that are reversible if detected early. 



This wireless alarm system senses accidental decannulation and alerts a personal electronic device or nursing station. The device is intended to warn caregivers such as patients, ICU staff, and nursing home attendants so the tube can be replaced in a timely fashion. The device is under further development to add features such as a suctioning alarm.

Honors & Awards


Catalyst Award (Fall 2017)
Surgical Innovations Accelerator
 (Spring 2017)

Featured Media


Surgical Innovations Accelerator Projects Harness Unique Talents of MTM Student Teams - UCSF Surgical Innovations - October 5, 2017

Accelerator Awards Presented at 2nd Annual Surgical Innovations Shark Tank - UCSF Surgical Innovations - April 24, 2017

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