Objective: To analyze the impact of decannulation before intensive care unit discharge on ward survival in nonexperimental conditions.
Design: Prospective, observational survey.
Setting: Thirty-one intensive care units throughout Spain.
Patients: All patients admitted from March 1, 2008 to May 31, 2008.
Measurements and main results: At intensive care unit discharge, we recorded demographic variables, severity score, and intensive care unit treatments, with special attention to tracheostomy. After intensive care unit discharge, we recorded intensive care unit readmission and hospital survival.
Statistics: Multivariate analyses for ward mortality, with Cox proportional hazard ratio adjusted for propensity score for intensive care unit decannulation. We included 4,132 patients, 1,996 of whom needed mechanical ventilation. Of these, 260 (13%) were tracheostomized and 59 (23%) died in the intensive care unit. Of the 201 intensive care unit tracheostomized survivors, 60 were decannulated in the intensive care unit and 141 were discharged to the ward with cannulae in place. Variables associated with intensive care unit decannulation (non-neurologic disease [85% vs. 64%], vasoactive drugs [90% vs. 76%], parenteral nutrition [55% vs. 33%], acute renal failure [37% vs. 23%], and good prognosis at intensive care unit discharge [40% vs. 18%]) were included in a propensity score model for decannulation. Crude ward mortality was similar in decannulated and nondecannulated patients (22% vs. 23%); however, after adjustment for the propensity score and Sabadell Score, the presence of a tracheostomy cannula was not associated with any survival disadvantage with an odds ratio of 0.6 [0.3-1.2] (p=.1).
Conclusion: In our multicenter setting, intensive care unit discharge before decannulation is not a risk factor.