Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyze the timing of tracheotomy and the duration of mechanical ventilation and stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) in patients with COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, we aimed to investigate tracheotomy complications and mortality.
Methods: Consecutive patients with COVID-19 infection admitted to the Department of Infectious Diseases in Gothenburg, Sweden were identified. Medical records were retrieved and retrospectively assessed.
Results: One hundred eighty-eight patients with COVID-19 infection requiring hospital care were identified. Of these, 116 patients were critically ill and intubated, and 55 patients underwent tracheotomy. The mean time from endotracheal intubation to tracheotomy was 12 days (range 5-28 days). There was a correlation between the timing of tracheotomy and the duration of mechanical ventilation, where a shorter time between intubation and tracheotomy was correlated with a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation (r .58, P < .001), and a correlation was identified between the timing of tracheotomy and the duration of ICU stay (r .52, P < .001). Perioperative hypoxemia was registered in 9% of tracheotomies performed, whereas postoperative bleeding was observed in 27% of cases, the majority of which were minor.
Conclusions: This retrospective cohort study indicates that early tracheotomy is related to a reduced need for mechanical ventilation and a shorter duration of stay in the ICU in severe cases of COVID-19 disease. Complications during and after tracheotomy in this specific cohort included risk perioperative hypoxia and postoperative bleeding. Prospective randomized controlled trials would be of value to confirm these findings.
Level of evidence: 4, Case series.
Keywords: COVID‐19; coronavirus; intensive care unit; pandemic; tracheotomy.
© 2021 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Triological Society.