Tracheostomy decannulation in children: approaches and techniques

Laryngoscope. 1998 Jan;108(1 Pt 1):8-12. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199801000-00002.


Various approaches and techniques are used in discontinuing tracheostomy in children. The variability in the use of resources is considerable. The objective of this study was to assess decannulation in children attended in a university-affiliated children's hospital. A retrospective analysis was made of the medical records of patients who had both tracheostomy (n = 177) and decannulation (n = 30) from 1985 to 1994. Tracheostomies, placed at a mean age of 38 months, were discontinued (on the average) 22 months later. Most children underwent airway endoscopy in the operating room in preparation for decannulation. Twenty-four children had downsizing, then capping of the tracheostomy as a functional trial. Six children underwent staged laryngotracheoplasty before decannulation. Two children had decannulation as part of a single-stage laryngotracheoplasty. Attention to at least one comorbid factor (e.g., pulmonary, neurologic, or cardiac disease) was important in the decannulation of each patient in this series. The individualization of tracheostomy decannulation is necessary for children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheostomy*