Objectives To identify children at risk for in-hospital mortality following tracheotomy.
Design Retrospective cohort study.
Setting 25 746 876 US hospitalisations for children within the Kids' Inpatient Database 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006.
Participants 18 806 hospitalisations of children ages 0–18 years undergoing tracheotomy, identified from ICD-9-CM tracheotomy procedure codes.
Main outcome measure Mortality during the initial hospitalisation when tracheotomy was performed in relation to patient demographic and clinical characteristics (neuromuscular impairment (NI), chronic lung disease, upper airway anomaly, prematurity, congenital heart disease, upper airway infection and trauma) identified with ICD-9-CM codes.
Results Between 1997 and 2006, mortality following tracheotomy ranged from 7.7% to 8.5%. In each year, higher mortality was observed in children undergoing tracheotomy who were aged <1 year compared with children aged 1–4 years (mortality range: 10.2–13.1% vs 1.1–4.2%); in children with congenital heart disease, compared with children without congenital heart disease (13.1–18.7% vs 6.2–7.1%) and in children with prematurity, compared with children who were not premature (13.0–19.4% vs 6.8–7.3%). Lower mortality was observed in children with an upper airway anomaly compared with children without an upper airway anomaly (1.5–5.1% vs 9.1–10.3%). In 2006, the highest mortality (40.0%) was observed in premature children with NI and congenital heart disease, who did not have an upper airway anomaly.
Conclusions Congenital heart disease, prematurity, the absence of an upper airway anomaly and age <1 year were characteristics associated with higher mortality in children following tracheotomy. These findings may assist provider communication with children and families regarding early prognosis following tracheotomy.
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Children's Hospital, Boston. This research was approved by the institutional review board (IRB No M08-10-0467).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.