Association between tracheostomy timing and outcomes for older critically ill COVID-19 patients: prospective observational study in European intensive care units

Kamil Polok, Jakub Fronczek, Peter Vernon van Heerden, Hans Flaatten, Bertrand Guidet, Dylan W. De Lange, Jesper Fjølner, Susannah Leaver, Michael Beil, Sigal Sviri, Raphael Romano Bruno, Bernhard Wernly, Antonio Artigas, Bernardo Bollen Pinto, Joerg C. Schefold, Dorota Studzińska, Michael Joannidis, Sandra Oeyen, Brian Marsh, Finn H. AndersenRui Moreno, Maurizio Cecconi, Christian Jung, Wojciech Szczeklik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Tracheostomy is performed in patients expected to require prolonged mechanical ventilation, but to date optimal timing of tracheostomy has not been established. The evidence concerning tracheostomy in COVID-19 patients is particularly scarce. We aimed to describe the relationship between early tracheostomy (≤10 days since intubation) and outcomes for patients with COVID-19. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study performed in 152 centres across 16 European countries from February to December 2020. We included patients aged ≥70 yr with confirmed COVID-19 infection admitted to an intensive care unit, requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. Multivariable analyses were performed to evaluate the association between early tracheostomy and clinical outcomes including 3-month mortality, intensive care length of stay, and duration of mechanical ventilation. Results: The final analysis included 1740 patients with a mean age of 74 yr. Tracheostomy was performed in 461 (26.5%) patients. The tracheostomy rate varied across countries, from 8.3% to 52.9%. Early tracheostomy was performed in 135 (29.3%) patients. There was no difference in 3-month mortality between early and late tracheostomy in either our primary analysis (hazard ratio [HR]=0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70–1.33) or a secondary landmark analysis (HR=0.78; 95% CI, 0.57–1.06). Conclusions: There is a wide variation across Europe in the timing of tracheostomy for critically ill patients with COVID-19. However, we found no evidence that early tracheostomy is associated with any effect on survival amongst older critically ill patients with COVID-19. Clinical Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT 04321265.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482 - 490
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Volume128
Issue number3
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • healthcare
  • intensive care units
  • mechanical ventilation
  • outcome assessment
  • tracheostomy

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