A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes in Tracheostomy Placement Among Preterm Infants

William Wood, Cynthia S. Wang, Ron B. Mitchell, Gopi B. Shah, Romaine F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: To study a case series of preterm and extremely preterm infants, comparing their decannulation and survival rates after tracheostomy. Methods: We performed a single-institution longitudinal study of preterm infants with a tracheostomy. Infants were categorized as premature (born > 28 weeks and < 37 weeks) and extremely premature (born ≤ 28 weeks). Decannulation and survival rates were determined using the Kaplan–Meier method. Neurocognitive quality of life (QOL) was reported as normal, mild/moderately, and severely impaired. Statistical significance was set at P <.05. Results: This study included 240 patients. Of those, 111 were premature and 129 were extremely preterm. The median age (interquartile range) at tracheostomy was 4.8 months (0.4). Premature infants were more likely than extremely preterm to have airway obstruction (54% vs. 32%, P <.001); whereas extremely preterm infants were more likely to have bronchopulmonary dysplasia (68% vs. 15%, P <.001) and to be ventilation-dependent (68% vs. 54%, P <.001). The 5-year decannulation rate for premature infants was 46% and for extremely preterm was 64%. The 5-year survival rate post-tracheostomy for preterm was 79% and for extremely preterm was 73%. The log-rank test of equality showed that decannulation and survival were similar (P >.05) for both groups, even after controlling for potentially confounding factors like race, age, gender, birth weight, and age at tracheostomy. For neurocognitive QOL, 47% of patients survived with severely impaired QOL after tracheostomy. Preterm had 56% with severely impaired QOL and extremely preterm had 40% with severely impaired QOL (P =.03). Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the time to decannulation and the likelihood of survival did not vary among premature and extremely premature infants even when controlling for other confounding variables. Level of Evidence: 3b Laryngoscope, 131:417–422, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-422
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Tracheostomy, preterm, decannulation, survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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