Assessment of Early Tracheostomy in Trauma Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Dunham, C. Michael; Ransom, Kenneth J.
March 2006
American Surgeon;Mar2006, Vol. 72 Issue 3, p276
Academic Journal
The objective of this review was to assess outcomes in trauma patients undergoing early tracheostomy (ET). Abstract databases for the Eastern and American Associations for the Surgery of Trauma and Medline were searched to find trauma patient studies comparing ET and late tracheostomy (LT) or ET and no ET. Fixed-effects meta-analyses were performed on the randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies. Of five retrospective and four RCT studies, none demonstrated survival benefit or harm with ET (P > 0.05). In five RCT studies of ET and no ET, ET pneumonia rates were similar to the no ET group (relative risk 1.00 [95% confidence intervals 0.88-1.15], P = 0.97). In five RCT studies of ET and no ET, ET ventilator/intensive care unit (ICU) days were similar to the no ET group (P = 0.27). In the two severe brain injury studies, ET ventilator/ICU days were lower than the no ET group (P = 0.06). In the three nonbrain injury studies, ET ventilator/ICU days were similar to the no ET group (P = 0.79). Five studies described similar laryngotracheal pathology rates with ET and no ET or LT (P > 0.05). In conclusion, ET has no influence on mortality, pneumonia, or laryngotracheal pathology rates in trauma patients. Patients with severe brain injury may be more rapidly liberated from mechanical ventilation with ET. However, additional research is needed.


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