[Analysis of early tracheostomy and its impact on development of pneumonia, use of resources and mortality in neurocritically ill patients]

F Gandía-Martínez, I Martínez-Gil, D Andaluz-Ojeda, F Bobillo de Lamo, L Parra-Morais, F Díez-Gutiérrez
Neurocirugía 2010, 21 (3): 211-21

OBJECTIVE: We analyze the most suitable time to perform tracheostomy in neurocritically ill patients. We compare morbimortality and use of resources between those patients in which tracheostomy was done early (<or= 9 days) and those in which it was perform later (>9 days), in a selected group of patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We made an observational prospective study involving a group of patients diagnosed as traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke, whose tracheostomy was performed during their stay at the Intensive Care Unit. We compared two groups: a) early tracheostomy (during first 9 days of ICU stay); b) late tracheostomy (made on 10th day or later). As variables, we studied: demographic data, severity of illness at admission, admittance department, diagnosis, length of intubation, length of mechanical ventilation (LMV), sedation and antibiotic treatment needs, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) events, ICU length of stay and mortality. We calculated relative risk of suffering from pneumonia and made a multivariate logistic regression to establish which factors were associated with an increased risk of developing pneumonia. Statistical signification p <or= 0.05.

RESULTS: We analyzed 118 patients, 60% with TBI. Mean length of intubation before tracheostomy was 12 days and mean LMV was 20 days. 94 VAP events were diagnosed in 81 patients (68.6%). Early tracheostomy group showed lower length of mechanical ventilation and ICU stay, lower length of sedation and antibiotic treatment, and less pneumonia events (p<0,001). The precocity of tracheostomy didn't have any influence either on hospital length of stay (p=0.844), ICU mortality (p=0.924) or in-hospital mortality (p=0.754). At the TBI group mean age was lower (p < 0.001), tracheostomy was made later (p=0.026), and patients needed a longer sedation (p=0.001) and a longer antibiotic treatment (p=0.002). Length of intubation (p=0.034, OR 1.177) and ICU length of stay (p=0.003, OR 1.100) were factors independently associated with development of pneumonia. Relative risk of suffering from pneumonia when tracheostomy was made after 9 days of ICU stay was 1.55 (IC 95%: 1.10-2.16). The number needed to treat (NNT) for early tracheostomy avoiding one pneumonia event was 3.13. VAP was not associated with a higher ICU (p=0.558) or in-hospital mortality (p=0.370).

CONCLUSIONS: Early tracheostomy (<or= 9 days) provides significant advantages in neurocritically ill patients: it shortens length of mechanical ventilation and ICU stay and decreases antibiotic and sedatives requirements. Although later tracheostomy is not directly related with mortality, it increases considerably the risk of suffering from pneumonia, particularly in patients with TBI. These clinical circumstances should be evaluated individually in each patient, so the best time to perform tracheostomy in neurocritically ill patients could be established.

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