Timing the First Pediatric Tracheostomy Tube Change: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Stephen R. Chorney, Rosemary C. Patel, Allison E. Boyd, Joanne Stow, Mary M. Schmitt, Deborah Lipman, Julia F. Dailey, Carol Nhan, Terri Giordano, Steven E. Sobol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The first pediatric tracheostomy tube change often occurs within 7 days after placement; however, the optimal timing is not known. The primary objective was to determine the rate of adverse events of an early tube change. Secondary objectives compared rates of significant peristomal wounds, sedation requirements, and expedited intensive care discharges. Study Design: Prospective randomized controlled trial. Setting: Tertiary children’s hospital between October 2018 and April 2020. Methods: A randomized controlled trial enrolled children under 24 months to early (day 4) or late (day 7) first tracheostomy tube changes. Results: Sixteen children were enrolled with 10 randomized to an early change. Median age was 5.9 months (interquartile range, 5.4-8.3), and 86.7% required tracheostomy for respiratory failure. All tracheostomy tube changes were performed without adverse events. There were no accidental decannulations. Significant wounds developed in 10% of children with early tracheostomy tube changes and 83.3% of children with late tracheostomy tube changes (odds ratio [OR], 45.0; 95% CI, 2.3-885.6; P =.01). This significant reduction in wound complications justified concluding trial enrollment. Hours of dexmedetomidine sedation (P =.11) and boluses of midazolam during the first 7 days (P =.08) were no different between groups. After the first change, 90% of the early group were discharged from intensive care within 5 weeks compared to 33.3% of patients in the late group (OR, 18.0; 95% CI, 1.2-260.9; P =.03). Conclusion: The first tracheostomy tube change in children can occur without adverse events on day 4, resulting in fewer significant peristomal wounds and earlier intensive care discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-876
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • pediatric
  • peristomal wounds
  • tracheostomy
  • tracheostomy tube change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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