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Tracheotomy in COVID-19 patients:  Optimizing patient selection and  identifying prognostic indicators
  • Thomas James Stubington, MD
Thomas James Stubington, MD
Royal Derby Hospital

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Tracheotomy, through its ability to wean patients off ventilation, can shorten ICU length of stay and in doing so increase ICU bed capacity, crucial for saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there is a paucity of patient selection criteria and prognosticators to facilitate decision-making and enhance precious ICU capacity.
Prospective study of COVID-19 patients undergoing tracheotomy (n=12) over a 4-week period (March-April 2020). Association between pre- and post- operative ventilation requirements and outcomes (ICU stay, time to decannulation, and death) were examined.
Patients who sustained FiO2≤50% and PEEP≤8cm H2O in the 24h pre-tracheotomy exhibited a favourable outcome. Those whose requirements remained below these thresholds post-tracheotomy could be safely stepped down after 48h.
Sustained FiO2≤50% and PEEP≤8cm H2O in the 48h post-tracheotomy are strong predictive factors for a good outcome, raising the potential for these patients to be stepped down early, thus increasing ICU capacity.