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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-6

Pediatric tracheostomy – From a rare procedure to an elective procedure

Department of Pediatrics, Shree Aggarsain International Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission04-Dec-2022
Date of Acceptance12-Dec-2022
Date of Web Publication20-Jan-2023

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pradeep Kumar Sharma
Flat No. 48, Pocket-7, Sector-21, Rohini, New Delhi - 110 086
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpcc.jpcc_95_22

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How to cite this article:
Sharma PK. Pediatric tracheostomy – From a rare procedure to an elective procedure. J Pediatr Crit Care 2023;10:5-6

How to cite this URL:
Sharma PK. Pediatric tracheostomy – From a rare procedure to an elective procedure. J Pediatr Crit Care [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 8];10:5-6. Available from: http://www.jpcc.org.in/text.asp?2023/10/1/5/368239

Until the last two decades, tracheostomy was rarely performed in children. It was usually performed as an emergency life-saving measure for airway obstruction. Pediatric tracheostomy is more challenging because of the small, pliable trachea, limited extension of the surgical field, and the risk of anesthesia. The morbidity and mortality for pediatric tracheostomy are around two to three times more than for adult patients.[1],[2],[3] Furthermore, most pediatricians have concerns regarding the safety, feasibility, and outcome of tracheostomy. These, along with the lack of quality pediatric critical care services, were reasons for infrequent tracheostomies in children. However, with the availability of quality pediatric critical care across India, many children require elective tracheostomies. The indication for tracheostomy has significantly changed over the last few decades, from upper airway obstructions following infections to prolonged mechanical ventilation. With the advent of vaccination and improvement in pediatric intensive care, Pediatric tracheostomy is commonly done for prolonged ventilation, upper airway obstruction, trauma, and neurological diseases.[1],[2],[3] There is a lack of guidelines with respect to timing, home care, and decannulation practices for pediatric tracheostomies. As the number of pediatric tracheostomies is small with heterogeneous age groups (from the neonatal period to adolescence), heterogeneous indications, it is difficult to formulate guidelines. Nonetheless, in recent years, the outcome of pediatric tracheostomies has been very encouraging. These studies have not only shown that tracheostomies are feasible but also can be maintained at home, even in resource-limiting settings with good decannulation rates.[1],[2],[3] The successful decannulation rate from various studies ranges from 15%–82%. There are many factors affecting successful decannulation, like age, the primary indication, duration of tracheostomy, care while tracheostomised, and complication of primary disease and tracheostomy procedures.[1],[2],[3] Certain factors cannot be modified; however, if caregivers or parents are properly educated and trained in tracheostomy care, these children can be managed on home tracheostomy care with good outcomes.[3] A predecannulation bronchoscopy is being increasingly done nowadays; however, there is still a lack of evidence of bronchoscopic findings that may influence decannulation.

In this issue of JPCC, Kumar et al.[4] have reported their experience with pediatric tracheostomies. The authors, during 1 year, had 50 tracheostomies with prolonged intubation due to primary neurological disease as the most common (82%) cause. Out of these, 31 were considered for decannulation, and all of them underwent predecannulation laryngo-tracheo-bronchosopy. Airway granulations were the most common finding, and the same was surgically removed before decannulation. They have reported a decannulation rate of 97%.

Airway complications such as granulations, collapse, and stenosis can be delineated with bronchoscopy, with granulation being the most common finding. However, not all of these require intervention before decannulation, and decannulation was reported to be successful in around 50% of cases without the need for any intervention.[5] In the author's own experience, 80% of cases are successfully decannulated without bronchoscopy.[3] Tracheostomy tubes are routinely changed every 3–4 weeks intervals. In a resource limiting country like India, doing a pre-decannulation bronchoscopy in high risk cases, or in those who have failed decannulation seems a more logical and feasible approach rather than doing for all cases. Decannulation can be attempted in children without predecannulation bronchoscopy. We need more research before forming any recommendations on optimal decannulation procedures.

Pediatric tracheotomies have come a long way from being a rare and life-saving procedure to an elective procedure in pediatric intensive care units. The indications show a shift from upper airway obstruction to prolonged intubation. The post tracheostomy care and home tracheostomies are feasible with good outcomes. There is a need for more research, especially regarding the optimal decannulations of pediatric tracheostomies.

  References Top

Jain MK, Patnaik S, Sahoo B, Mishra R, Behera JR. Tracheostomy in pediatric intensive care unit: Experience from Eastern India. Indian J Pediatr 2021;88:445-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sachdev A, Chaudhari ND, Singh BP, Sharma N, Gupta D, Gupta N, et al. Tracheostomy in pediatric intensive care unit-a two decades of experience. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021;25:803-11.  Back to cited text no. 2
Sharma PK, Vinayak N. A single center experience of pediatric tracheostomy. Indian Pediatr 2018;55:1091-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kumar PP, Somahekhar A, Basavaraja GV, Sanjay KS, Afshan F, Baskar P. Pediatric tracheostomy decannulation: A prospective study at a tertiary care centre. J Pediatr Crit Care 2023;10:24-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
Sachdev A, Ghimiri A, Gupta N, Gupta D. Pre-decannulation flexible bronchoscopy in tracheostomized children. Pediatr Surg Int 2017;33:1195-200.  Back to cited text no. 5


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