Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations After Pediatric Tracheostomy

Dylan R. Beams, Stephen R. Chorney, Yann Fuu Kou, Taylor B. Teplitzky, Erin M. Wynings, Romaine F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine factors associated with frequent emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations after pediatric tracheostomy. Methods: A prospective cohort of children (<18 years) with a tracheostomy placed at a tertiary children's hospital between 2015 and 2019 were followed for 24 months after index discharge. ED visits and hospitalizations were recorded to identify risk factors for frequent utilization (≥4 visits). Results: A total of 239 children required 1285 total visits to the ED or hospital after index discharge with 112 children (47%) having ≥4 visits. Respiratory-related illness was the most common reason (N = 699, 54%) followed by gastrostomy tube issues (N = 119, 9.3%). Frequent utilization was associated with Black race (OR: 2.01, 95% CI: 1.18–3.70, p = 0.01), mechanical ventilation (OR: 2.74, 95% CI: 1.35–5.59, p = 0.006), and Spanish language (OR: 3.86, 95% CI: 1.47–10.11, p = 0.006) on regression modeling. There were no predictors of visits for tracheostomy-related complications, which accounted for 4.8% of all encounters. A sub-analysis showed that Hispanic ethnicity and gestational age predicted visits for respiratory failure. Conclusion: Frequent ED visits or hospitalizations are required for 47% of children in the first 2 years after tracheostomy placement. Ventilatory support, Black race, and Spanish language increase the likelihood of high utilization. Although tracheostomy-related visits are uncommon, strategies to anticipate and decrease respiratory-related admissions may have the most impact. Level of evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 133:2018–2024, 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2018-2024
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • patient safety
  • pediatric tracheostomy
  • quality improvement
  • readmissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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