Objective: To investigate morbidity, complication rate, and mortality in oldest-old patients who undergo tracheostomy.
Study design: Historical cohort study.
Subject and methods: The medical records for 64 patients (>85 years) who underwent standard or percutaneous tracheostomy between 2001 and 2005 in a tertiary care hospital were reviewed for in-hospital and out-of-hospital mortality, complications, and decannulation rate.
Results: Twenty-eight (43.8%) patients were discharged from the hospital and all remained tracheotomized at that time. Postoperative mortality had not been related to the procedure itself and the mortality rate reached 75 percent within the first three postoperative months and 93.8 percent within the first year post-tracheostomy. The post-tracheostomy course was complicated in three (4.7%) patients. There was no significant correlation between the length of hospital stay or survival and demographic parameters, pneumonia as the reason for mechanical ventilation, or performance of surgery before tracheostomy.
Conclusion: Tracheostomy is a safe surgical procedure in the oldest-old patients. The high rate of the postoperative mortality is not related to the procedure itself. The possibility of permanent stoma should be considered and discussed with the patients and their families during the preoperative counseling.