Effect of Early vs Late Tracheostomy Placement on Survival in Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: The TracMan Randomized Trial


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Abstract

ImportanceTracheostomy is a widely used intervention in adult critical care units. There is little evidence to guide clinicians regarding the optimal timing for this procedure.ObjectiveTo test whether early vs late tracheostomy would be associated with lower mortality in adult patients requiring mechanical ventilation in critical care units.Design and SettingAn open multicentered randomized clinical trial conducted between 2004 and 2011 involving 70 adult general and 2 cardiothoracic critical care units in 13 university and 59 nonuniversity hospitals in the United Kingdom.ParticipantsOf 1032 eligible patients, 909 adult patients breathing with the aid of mechanical ventilation for less than 4 days and identified by the treating physician as likely to require at least 7 more days of mechanical ventilation.InterventionsPatients were randomized 1:1 to early tracheostomy (within 4 days) or late tracheostomy (after 10 days if still indicated).Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe primary outcome measure was 30-day mortality and the analysis was by intention to treat.ResultsOf the 455 patients assigned to early tracheostomy, 91.9% (95% CI, 89.0%-94.1%) received a tracheostomy and of 454 assigned to late tracheostomy, 44.9% (95% CI, 40.4%-49.5%) received a tracheostomy. All-cause mortality 30 days after randomization was 30.8% (95% CI, 26.7%-35.2%) in the early and 31.5% (95% CI, 27.3%-35.9%) in the late group (absolute risk reduction for early vs late, 0.7%; 95% CI, −5.4% to 6.7%). Two-year mortality was 51.0% (95% CI, 46.4%-55.6%) in the early and 53.7% (95% CI, 49.1%-58.3%) in the late group (P = .74). Median critical care unit length of stay in survivors was 13.0 days in the early and 13.1 days in the late group (P = .74). Tracheostomy-related complications were reported for 6.3% (95% CI, 4.6%-8.5%) of patients (5.5% in the early group, 7.8% in the late group).Conclusions and RelevanceFor patients breathing with the aid of mechanical ventilation treated in adult critical care units in the United Kingdom, tracheostomy within 4 days of critical care admission was not associated with an improvement in 30-day mortality or other important secondary outcomes. The ability of clinicians to predict which patients required extended ventilatory support was limited.Trial Registrationisrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN28588190

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