Cost Analysis of Open Surgical Bedside Tracheostomy in Intensive Care Unit Patients

Ear Nose Throat J. 2023 Aug;102(8):516-521. doi: 10.1177/01455613211018578. Epub 2021 May 19.


Objectives: Open surgical tracheostomy (OST) is a common procedure performed on intensive care unit (ICU) patients. The procedure can be performed bedside in the ICU (bedside open surgical tracheostomy, BeOST) or in the operating room (operating room open surgical tracheostomy, OROST), with comparable safety and long-term complication rates. We aimed to perform a cost analysis and evaluate the use of human resources and the total time used for both BeOSTs and OROSTs.

Methods: All OSTs performed in 2017 at 5 different ICUs at Oslo University Hospital Ullevål were retrospectively evaluated. The salaries of the personnel involved in the 2 procedures were obtained from the hospital's finance department. The time taken and the number of procedures performed were extracted from annual reports and from the electronic patient record system, and the annual expenditures were calculated.

Results: Altogether, 142 OSTs were performed, of which 122 (86%) and 20 (14%) were BeOSTs and OROSTs, respectively. A BeOST cost 343 EUR (95% CI: 241.4-444.6) less than an OROST. Bedside open surgical tracheostomies resulted in an annual cost efficiency of 41.818 EUR. In addition, BeOSTs freed 279 hours of operating room occupancy during the study year. Choosing BeOST instead of OROST made 1 nurse, 2 surgical nurses, and 1 anesthetic nurse redundant.

Conclusion: Bedside open surgical tracheostomy appears to be cost-, time-, and resource-effective than OROST. In the absence of contraindications, BeOSTs should be performed in ICU patients whenever possible.

Keywords: costs and cost analysis; critical care; health expenditures; intensive care units; tracheostomy.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Critical Care
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheostomy* / methods