Tracheostomy is a very common clinical intervention in critically ill adult patients. The indications for tracheostomy procedures in pediatric patients with complex conditions have increased dramatically in recent years, but there are currently no guidelines on the optimal timing of tracheostomy in pediatric patients undergoing prolonged ventilation.
We performed a systematic search of the existing literature in MEDLINE via PubMed and Embase databases and the Cochrane Library to identify clinical trials, observational studies, and cohort studies that compare early and late tracheostomy in children. The date of the last search was August 27, 2018. Included articles were subjected to manual searching.
Studies in mechanically ventilated children that compared early with late tracheostomy were included.
Data were extracted into a spreadsheet and copied into Review Manager 5.3 (The Cochrane Collaboration, Copenhagen, Denmark).
Data were meta-analyzed using an inverse variance, random effects model. Continuous outcomes were calculated as mean differences with 95% CIs, and dichotomous outcomes were calculated as Mantel-Haenszel risk ratios with 95% CIs. We included eight studies (10 study arms). These studies were all retrospective cohort studies. Early tracheostomy was associated with significant reductions in mortality, days on mechanical ventilation, and length of intensive care and total hospital stay, although the lack of randomized, controlled trials limits the validity of these findings. Although variance was imputed for some studies, these conclusions did not change after removing these studies from the analysis.
In children on mechanical ventilation, early tracheostomy may improve important medical outcomes. However, our data demonstrate the urgent need for high-quality, randomized controlled trials in the pediatric population.
1Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Surgical Intensive Care, Beni-Suef University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, Beni Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt.
2Department of Anaesthesia, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
3Department of Anaesthesia, Cambridge University Hospitals, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
4School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.
5Department of Anesthesia, Kasr Al Ainy Faculty of Medicine and Cairo University Hospitals, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
6Department of Anesthesia, Ain Shams University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
7The Department of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Essex Cardiothoracic Center, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon, United Kingdom.
8Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine and Fayoum University Hospital, Fayoum University, Faiyum, Egypt.
9Department of Anesthesia, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
10Medical Research Librarian, United Kingdom.
11Department of Science and Technology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
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Dr. Reeves received funding from Ahmed Mahmoud. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0473-9764.
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