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This article is the author's final published version in Journal of Chest Surgery, Volume 56, Issue 5, 2023, Pages 346 - 352.

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Copyright © 2023 The Korean Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: A significant proportion of cardiac surgery intensive care unit (CSICU) patients require long-term ventilation, necessitating tracheostomy placement. The goal of this study was to evaluate the long-term postoperative outcomes and complications associated with percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) in CSICU patients.

METHODS: All patients undergoing PDT after cardiac, thoracic, or vascular operations in the CSICU between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2021 were identified. They were evaluated for mortality, decannulation time, and complications including bleeding, infection, and need for surgical intervention. Multivariable regression models were used to identify predictors of early decannulation and the complication rate.

RESULTS: Ninety-three patients were identified for this study (70 [75.3%] male and 23 [24.7%] female). Furthermore, 18.3% of patients had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 21.5% had history of stroke, 7.5% had end-stage renal disease, 33.3% had diabetes, and 59.1% were current smokers. The mean time from PDT to decannulation was 39 days. Roughly one-fifth (20.4%) of patients were on dual antiplatelet therapy and 81.7% had anticoagulation restarted 8 hours post-tracheostomy. Eight complications were noted, including 5 instances of bleeding requiring packing and 1 case of mediastinitis. There were no significant predictors of decannulation prior to discharge. Only COPD was identified as a negative predictor of decannulation at any point in time (hazard ratio, 0.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.95; p=0.04).

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous tracheostomy is a safe and viable alternative to surgical tracheostomy in cardiac surgery ICU patients. Patients who undergo PDT have a relatively short duration of tracheostomy and do not have major post-procedural complications.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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