Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health; Paediatric Surgery


Objective: Tracheostomy is a commonly performed procedure amongst critically ill patients, especially in cases of prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV). This study aimed to describe the indications, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of elective pediatric tracheostomies in critically ill children at our center.
Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of children who underwent elective tracheostomies in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) was conducted from January 2009 to June 2018. Data were extracted based on demographics, indications of tracheostomy, and patient outcomes. Results were reported as mean with standard deviation and as frequencies with percentage.
Results: Of the 3,200 patients admitted to the PICU during the study period, 1,130 were intubated. A total of 48 (4.2% of 1,130) children underwent an elective tracheostomy. 30/48 (62.5%) children had an early tracheostomy. 34/48 (71%) patients were males. Approximately 25% of our patients undergoing a tracheostomy had an underlying neurological condition as the primary diagnosis, followed by respiratory conditions (23%). The most common indications for elective tracheostomy were PMV (>7 days) (n=24, 50%) and extubation failure (n=9, 18.7%). Early tracheostomy (<14 days) had better patient outcomes in terms of ventilator-free days (8.57±4.64 in early tracheostomy vs. 6.38±6.17 days in late tracheostomy, P=0.04). The sedation-free days and ICU-free days were also significantly increased in the early tracheostomy group than in the late tracheostomy group. The successful weaning and ICU discharge rate were significantly higher in the early tracheostomy group than in the late tracheostomy group (78.1% vs. 59.7%, P<0.05; and 69.2% vs. 49.5%, P<0.05, respectively). Ventilator-associated pneumonia was more common in the late tracheostomy group (n= 14, 77%), compared to early tracheostomy group (n=12, 40%) (P=0.03). Two patients expired from tracheostomy-related complications.
Conclusion: PMV was the most common indication for an elective tracheostomy. Early tracheostomy is associated with improved patient outcomes; therefore, a standardized approach toward mechanically ventilated children is recommended.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.