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Tracheotomy in Severe Head Trauma: Early vs. Late

Published on: 19th January, 2024

Introduction: The evolution of a patient with severe traumatic brain injury may require the use of a tracheostomy as part of respiratory weaning. The central question revolves around the optimal timing to replace intubation with tracheostomy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the hypothesis that early tracheostomy reduces the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), the duration of mechanical ventilation (MV), and the length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU).Materials and methods: This was a retrospective study including all patients admitted to the department over a period of 08 months. Various historical, demographic, clinical, biological, and progression-related covariates were collected upon admission.Results: Among the 69 patients included in the study who underwent surgical tracheostomy, two groups were formed: those who underwent early tracheostomy (within the first 8 days of mechanical ventilation) and those with late tracheostomy (after 8 days). The early group showed a significant reduction in the duration of mechanical ventilation (16 ± 3 days) and length of stay in the intensive care unit (17 ± 3 days) compared to the late group (23 ± 6 days and 30 ± 11 days, respectively). No significant differences were observed regarding the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and mortality between the two groups.Conclusion: This study strengthens the existing literature by demonstrating that early tracheostomy is associated with a reduction in the duration of MV and length of stay in the ICU.
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