Tracheotomy tube placement in children following cardiothoracic surgery: indications and outcomes

Am J Otolaryngol. Nov-Dec 2002;23(6):337-40. doi: 10.1053/ajot.2002.126854.


Purpose: To review the indications for and outcomes of children requiring tracheotomy tube placement following cardiothoracic surgery, charts were reviewed retrospectively at a tertiary care center for fifteen children who had undergone tracheotomy tube placement following cardiothoracic surgery between 1994 and 2000. Outcomes Measure: Morbidity and/or mortality associated with tracheotomy tube placement in this patient population, duration of tracheotomy tube, and rate of decannulation.

Results: Fifteen out of approximately 3000 children undergoing cardiothoracic surgery required tracheotomy tube placement over a 6-year period. Indications included diaphragmatic paresis (DP) (7 patients), vocal cord paresis (VP) alone (3 patients), DP and VP (2 patients), subglottic stenosis (SS) and DP (1 patient), VP and SS (2 patients), and cerebrovascular infarct (1 patient). The mean age at the time of tracheotomy tube placement was 36.5 months (range, 0.75-108 months). The mean duration of intubation between cardiothoracic procedure and tracheotomy was 31.6 days (range, 0-72 days). Six patients were successfully decannulated following a mean of 7.4 months of tracheotomy tube dependence. All 6 decannulated patients had DP necessitating tracheotomy and ventilatory support. Eight patients continue to be tracheotomy tube-dependent, and one patient died of unrelated causes. There was no short-term or long-term morbidity or mortality associated with tracheotomy tube placement.

Conclusion: Tracheotomy tube placement is rarely indicated following cardiothoracic surgery in children. The most common indication is DP, which is usually transient. Most children will eventually be candidates for decannulation.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Laryngostenosis / etiology
  • Laryngostenosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Respiratory Paralysis / etiology
  • Respiratory Paralysis / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Tracheotomy*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / therapy