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Congenit Heart Dis. 2013 Nov-Dec;8(6):556-60. doi: 10.1111/chd.12048. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Single-center experience of outcomes of tracheostomy in children with congenital heart disease.

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Division of Cardiology, Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Mich, USA.



A subset of children with repaired congenital heart disease (CHD) may require tracheostomy for ongoing ventilatory support. Data on outcomes of children with CHD and tracheostomy are scarce. Our objectives were to describe indications for tracheostomy and outcomes, including readmission data in this population.


This is a retrospective chart review of children (<18 years old) with CHD who underwent tracheostomy at a single center over a 12-year period. Exclusion criteria were prematurity with isolated patent ductus arteriosus ligation. Outcomes until discharge and data on all readmissions after the initial discharge were reviewed.


A total of 21 subjects with CHD underwent tracheostomy at a median (range) age of 4 (1-84) months and mean (standard deviation) weight of 7.2 (5.9) kg. The most common indication for tracheostomy was tracheomalacia with ventilator-dependent respiratory failure (14/21 subjects), followed by subglottic stenosis (5) and vocal cord palsy (2). Genetic syndromes were present in 13 (62%) subjects. The mean (standard deviation) post-tracheostomy length of stay was 55 (35) days. All subjects survived to discharge; 17 (81%) required home ventilation. A total of 11 (52%) subjects died during follow-up, all of whom were mechanically ventilated while three (14%) children underwent successful decannulation. The mean number of nonelective readmissions decreased from 2.4/patient-year in the first year to 1.4/patient-year in the second year, respectively. The commonest reasons for readmission were respiratory deterioration, infections, and mechanical tracheostomy-related problems.


The majority of children with CHD who underwent tracheostomy did so for ventilator dependence and tracheomalacia and had coexisting genetic syndromes. About half the cohort died; among survivors, readmissions were common but decreased after the first year. These results underscore the ongoing mortality and morbidity risks faced by this vulnerable population.


Children; Congenital Heart Defects; Tracheostomy

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