Pediatric tracheotomies in an Asian population: the Singapore experience

Annette H C Ang, Dennis Y K Chua, Kenny P Pang, Henry K K Tan
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2005, 133 (2): 246-50

OBJECTIVE: Over the past 2 decades, tracheotomy in children and infants has evolved from a primarily emergent procedure for upper airway obstruction into a semielective procedure for airway access in assisted ventilation. We present a 12-year retrospective review of tracheotomies performed in the pediatric population in Singapore.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We reviewed all tracheotomies performed in children below the age of 16 years in 2 tertiary pediatric medical centers in Singapore from January 1991 to December 2003. Indications for surgery are reviewed, and outcomes in terms of morbidity rate, mortality rate, postoperative rehabilitation, and duration of decannulation process were analyzed.

RESULTS: Tracheotomies were performed in 48 children during the study period. The mean age of patients was 3.24 years, with ages ranging from 16 days to 14 years. Sixty-three percent of tracheotomies were done within the 1st year of life. The chief indication was airway access for assisted ventilation. The overall complication rate was 31%. There were 13 attempts at decannulation, with 9 successes. No tracheotomy-related deaths occurred.

CONCLUSION: Tracheotomy is a relatively safe procedure in children and infants. Lower decannulation rates and the evolving role of tracheotomy for early access in assisted ventilation permits earlier discharge with tracheotomy in situ.

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