Does length of intubation before tracheostomy affect intensive care unit length of stay?

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Objective.The purpose of this study was to determine if length of intubation before tracheotomy (LIT) affects length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU).Study Design.This was a retrospective case series of patients who had open tracheotomies at Grady Memorial Hospital by the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) service. Medical records were reviewed to document patient demographic characteristics, etiology for ventilator dependence, and complications. The primary predictor variable was LIT and primary outcome variable was length of stay in ICU after tracheotomy. Statistical analysis was performed (significance P < .05).Results.There were 115 patients (mean age 54 years) included in the study. The majority received tracheotomies because of prolonged mechanical ventilation secondary to a medical comorbidity. Intraoperative complications were cardiac arrest and difficulty accessing trachea. Postoperative complications were bleeding. Postoperatively, most patients were discharged from the ICU or weaned off mechanical ventilation within 5 days. The correlation between LIT and ICU stay was not statistically significant, but the trend was positive.Conclusions.The results of this study indicate that patients undergoing an earlier tracheotomy were more likely to have an earlier discharge from the ICU.

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