Tracheotomy and decannulation rates in a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit: a 12-year study

Laryngoscope. 2006 Jan;116(1):136-9. doi: 10.1097/01.mlg.0000189293.17376.0b.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the rates of tracheotomy tube placement and subsequent decannulation in all admissions to a single-site, tertiary newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

Methods: Records from total admissions to a tertiary single-site NICU between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 2002, were retrospectively analyzed. Long-term medical follow-up for this cohort included data through September 1, 2003. All patients were analyzed for occurrence of tracheotomy tube placement and decannulation, airway procedures, and comorbidities.

Results: There were 10,428 total NICU admissions during the 12-year study period. Seventy-eight (0.7%) of these patients underwent tracheotomy tube placement. Sixty-six of these 78 (85%) infants survived. None of the 12 deaths were related to tracheotomy tube placement. The most common indications for tracheotomy tube placement were subglottic stenosis (32%), chronic lung disease (28%), craniofacial abnormality (14%), chronic ventilator dependency (11%), and a neurologic disorder (8%). Decannulation was achieved in 41 of 66 (62%) survivors. Patients who failed decannulation had a major neurologic disorder, underlying pulmonary disorder, or both.

Conclusion: A baseline tracheotomy tube placement rate of 0.7% was observed in this single-site tertiary NICU setting. Decannulation was accomplished early in life in two thirds of the surviving infants. Those infants failing decannulation had either severe underlying pulmonary or neurologic disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / diagnosis*
  • Airway Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Minnesota
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Tracheotomy / methods
  • Tracheotomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome