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Am J Crit Care ; : e1-e9, 2022 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1994279


BACKGROUND: Tracheostomies are highly aerosolizing procedures yet are often indicated in patients with COVID-19 who require prolonged intubation. Robust investigations of the safety of tracheostomy protocols and provider adherence and evaluations are limited. OBJECTIVES: To determine the rate of COVID-19 infection of health care personnel involved in COVID-19 tracheostomies under a multidisciplinary safety protocol and to investigate health care personnel's attitudes and suggested areas for improvement concerning the protocol. METHODS: All health care personnel involved in tracheostomies in COVID-19-positive patients from April 9 through July 11, 2020, were sent a 22-item electronic survey. RESULTS: Among 107 health care personnel (80.5%) who responded to the survey, 5 reported a positive COVID-19 test result (n = 2) or symptoms of COVID-19 (n = 3) within 21 days of the tracheostomy. Respondents reported 100% adherence to use of adequate personal protective equipment. Most (91%) were familiar with the tracheostomy protocol and felt safe (92%) while performing tracheostomy. Suggested improvements included creating dedicated tracheostomy teams and increasing provider choices surrounding personal protective equipment. CONCLUSIONS: Multidisciplinary engagement in the development and implementation of a COVID-19 tracheostomy protocol is associated with acceptable safety for all members of the care team.

J Thorac Dis ; 13(7): 4137-4145, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1344631


BACKGROUND: Whereas data from the pre-pandemic era have demonstrated that tracheostomy can accelerate liberation from the ventilator, reduce need for sedation, and facilitate rehabilitation, concerns for healthcare worker safety have led to disagreement on tracheostomy placement in COVID-19 patients. Data on COVID-19 patients undergoing tracheostomy may inform best practices. Thus, we report a retrospective institutional cohort experience with tracheostomy in ventilated patients with COVID-19, examining associations between time to tracheostomy and duration of mechanical ventilation in relation to patient characteristics, clinical course, and survival. METHODS: Clinical data were extracted for all COVID-19 tracheostomies performed at a quaternary referral center from April-July 2020. Outcomes studied included mortality, adverse events, duration of mechanical ventilation, and time to decannulation. RESULTS: Among 64 COVID-19 tracheostomies (13% of COVID-19 hospitalizations), patients were 64% male and 42% African American, with a median age of 54 (range, 20-89). Median time to tracheostomy was 22 (range, 7-60) days and median duration of mechanical ventilation was 39.4 (range, 20-113) days. Earlier tracheostomy was associated with shortened mechanical ventilation (R2=0.4, P<0.01). Median decannulation time was 35.3 (range, 7-79) days. There was 19% mortality and adverse events in 45%, mostly from bleeding in therapeutically anticoagulated patients. CONCLUSIONS: Tracheostomy was associated with swifter liberation from the ventilator and acceptable safety for physicians in this series of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Patient mortality was not increased relative to historical data on acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Future studies are required to establish conclusions of causality regarding tracheostomy timing with mechanical ventilation, complications, or mortality in COVID-19 patients.