Survival analysis and decannulation outcomes of infants with tracheotomies

Jordan Salley, Yann Fuu Kou, Gopi B. Shah, Ron B. Mitchell, Romaine F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate for differences in time to decannulation and survival rates for pediatric tracheotomy patients based on ventilator status upon discharge. Study Design: Retrospective longitudinal cohort study. Methods: A single-institution longitudinal study of pediatric tracheostomy patients was conducted. Patients were categorized based on mechanical ventilation status on discharge and principal reason for tracheostomy. Survival rates were determined using the Kaplan-Meier method. The Wilcoxon's Rank Sum test and Cox regression analysis evaluated differences in survival times and time to decannulation based on primary indication for tracheotomy and ventilation status. Results: Chart review identified 305 patients who required a tracheostomy under the age of 3. The median age at the time of tracheotomy was 5.2 months. The indications for tracheotomy in these patients were airway obstruction in 145 (48%), respiratory failure in 214 (70%), and pulmonary toilet in 10 (3.3%). Seventy-nine percent of patients were ventilator dependent at discharge. At the conclusion of the study period, 55% of patients were alive with tracheostomy in place, 30% patients were decannulated, and 15% patients were deceased. Patients with ventilator dependence at initial discharge, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or airway obstruction were more likely to be decannulated. Hispanic patients were less likely to be decannulated. Patients had an equal probability of death regardless of ventilator status at discharge. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the time to decannulation and likelihood of decannulation varies based on the indication for the tracheostomy. The majority of patients with a tracheostomy were not decannulated at the conclusion of this study. Median time to decannulation was 2.5 years for patients with a median death time of 6 months. Level of Evidence: 2b Laryngoscope, 130:2319–2324, 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2319-2324
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Pediatric tracheostomy
  • decannulation
  • survival analysis
  • ventilator dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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