Background: Tracheostomy was first observed in Egyptian drawings in 3600 BC and performed frequently during the 1800's diphtheria epidemic.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to elucidate the indications, complications, mortality rate, and the effect of pediatric tracheostomy on length of PICU or hospital stay.
Materials and methods: Demographic characteristics, diagnosis at admission, duration of ventilation of 152 patients were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: The most common tracheostomy indication was prolonged intubation. The mean duration of mechanical ventilation before tracheostomy was 23.8 days. Forty five percent of the tracheostomy procedures were performed at bedside. Neither the place nor the age had any effect on the development of complications (P = 0.701, P = 0.622). The procedure enabled 62% of the patients to be discharged from hospital.
Conclusions: Tracheostomy facilitates discharge and weaning of mechanical ventilation. Although the timing of tracheostomy has to be determined for each individual patient, three weeks of ventilation seems to be a suitable period for tracheostomy. Tracheostomy can be performed at bedside safely but patient selection should be made carefully.
Keywords: Complications; Intensive Care Unit; Pediatric; Timing; Tracheostomy.