Tracheostomy in Preterm Infants: Current Trends

Kevin D. Pereira, Allison R. MacGregor, Chad M. McDuffie, Ron B. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objective: To study the indications for and outcomes of tracheostomy in a population of preterm infants. Design: Retrospective analysis of case records. Setting: Two university-affiliated tertiary care children's hospitals. Patients: We identified premature infants who required tracheostomies from January 1, 1997, through January 31, 2001. Information on weight, gestational age, comorbid conditions, indication for tracheostomy, and outcomes was collected. Infants were divided by birth weight into group 1 (<1000 g; n=19 [very low birth weight]) and group 2 (≥1000 g; n=14). Comorbid conditions were scored and a total score was calculated for each patient. Results: Group 1 had a higher incidence of patent ductus arteriosus, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, intraventricular hemorrhage, and retinopathy of prematurity. The incidence of congenital or genetic defects was equal in groups 1 and 2 (11 infants [58%] and 8 infants [57%1, respectively). Group 1 had a higher average number of failed extubations (5.17 vs 3.18) and a higher oxygen requirement (48.7% vs 30.3%) compared with group 2. Weight at tracheostomy was essentially equal in groups 1 and 2 (3.6 vs 3.7 kg). Subglottic stenosis and laryngotracheomalacia were equally common findings in groups 1 and 2. The average comorbidity score for group 1 was higher than that for group 2 (6.7 vs 2.8). The most common indication for tracheostomy was ventilatory dependence (n=24 [73%]), compared with airway obstruction (n=6 [18%]) and pulmonary toilet (n=3 [9%]). Overall, 6 patients (18%) had a complication related to the tracheostomy. Conclusions: Severity of pulmonary disease was the most significant factor associated with the need for tracheostomy in preterm infants. A tracheostomy can safely be performed in these infants with minimal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1271
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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