Background: While single-institution studies reported the indications and outcomes of tracheostomy in children with congenital heart disease (CHD), no national analyses have been performed. We sought to examine the indications, performance, outcomes, and resource utilization of tracheostomy in children with CHD using a nationally representative database.
Methods: We identified all children undergoing tracheostomy in the Kids’ Inpatient Database 1997 through 2009, and we compared children with CHD to children without CHD. Within the CHD group, we compared children whose tracheostomy occurred in the same hospital admissions as a cardiac operation to those whose tracheostomy occurred without a cardiac operation in the same admission.
Results: Tracheostomy was performed in n=2,495 children with CHD, which represents 9.6% of all tracheostomies performed in children (n=25,928), and 3.5% of all admissions for children with CHD (n=355,460). Over the study period, there was an increasing trend in the proportion of all tracheostomies that were done in children with CHD (p<0.0001) and an increasing trend in the proportion of admissions for children with CHD that involved a tracheostomy (p<0.0001). The population of children with CHD undergoing tracheostomy differed markedly in baseline characteristics, outcomes, and resource utilization. Similarly, the subgroup of children whose tracheostomy was performed in the same admission as a cardiac operation differed significantly from those whose tracheostomy was not.
Conclusions: Tracheostomy is an increasingly common procedure in children with CHD despite being associated with significantly greater resource utilization and in-hospital mortality. The population of children with CHD who undergo tracheostomy differs markedly from that of children without CHD who undergo tracheostomy, and important differences are observed between children who undergo tracheostomy in the same admission as a cardiac surgical procedure and those who undergo tracheostomy in a nonsurgical admission, as well as between children with single-ventricle physiology and children with two-ventricle physiology.