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Evaluating Airway Management in Patients With Trisomy 21 in the PICU and Cardiac ICU: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

OBJECTIVES: Children with trisomy 21 often have anatomic and physiologic features that may complicate tracheal intubation (TI). TI in critically ill children with trisomy 21 is not well described. We hypothesize that in children with trisomy 21, TI is associated with greater odds of adverse airway outcomes (AAOs), including TI-associated events (TIAEs), and peri-intubation hypoxemia (defined as > 20% decrease in pulse oximetry saturation [Spo2]).

DESIGN: Retrospective database study using the National Emergency Airway Registry for Children (NEAR4KIDS).

SETTING: Registry data from 16 North American PICUs and cardiac ICUs (CICUs), from January 2014 to December 2020.

PATIENTS: A cohort of children under 18 years old who underwent TI in the PICU or CICU from in a NEAR4KIDS center. We identified patients with trisomy 21 and selected matched cohorts within the registry.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We included 8401 TIs in the registry dataset. Children with trisomy 21 accounted for 274 (3.3%) TIs. Among those with trisomy 21, 84% had congenital heart disease and 4% had atlantoaxial instability. Cervical spine protection was used in 6%. The diagnosis of trisomy 21 (vs. without) was associated with lower median weight 7.8 (interquartile range [IQR] 4.5-14.7) kg versus 10.6 (IQR 5.2-25) kg (p < 0.001), and more higher percentage undergoing TI for oxygenation (46% vs. 32%, p < 0.001) and ventilation failure (41% vs. 35%, p = 0.04). Trisomy 21 patients had more difficult airway features (35% vs. 25%, p = 0.001), including upper airway obstruction (14% vs. 8%, p = 0.001). In addition, a greater percentage of trisomy 21 patients received atropine (34% vs. 26%, p = 0.004); and, lower percentage were intubated with video laryngoscopy (30% vs. 37%, p = 0.023). After 1:10 (trisomy 21:controls) propensity-score matching, we failed to identify an association difference in AAO rates (absolute risk difference -0.6% [95% CI -6.1 to 4.9], p = 0.822).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite differences in airway risks and TI approaches, we have not identified an association between the diagnosis of trisomy 21 and higher AAOs.

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