Tracheostomy for Severe Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Indications and Outcomes

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Abstract

Objectives

(1) To describe characteristics of pediatric patients undergoing tracheostomy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). (2) To highlight perioperative events and outcomes of the procedure.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.

Setting

Four tertiary care academic children’s hospitals.

Subjects and Methods

Twenty-nine children aged <18 years from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2015, who underwent tracheostomy for severe OSA, defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) >10, were included in the study. Data on patient characteristics, polysomnographic findings, comorbidities, and perioperative events and outcomes were collected and analyzed.

Results

Twenty-nine patients were included. Mean age at tracheostomy was 2.0 years (95% CI, −2.2 to 6.2). Mean body mass index z score was −1.2 (95% CI, −4.9 to −2.5). Mean preoperative AHI was 60.2 (95% CI, −15.7 to 136.1). Mean postoperative intensive care unit stay was 23.2 days (95% CI, 1.44-45.0). One procedure was complicated by bronchospasm. Thirteen patients had craniofacial abnormalities; 10 had a neurologic disorder resulting in hypotonia; and 5 had a diagnosis of laryngomalacia. Mean follow-up was 30.6 months (95% CI, −10.4 to 71.6). Six patients were decannulated, with a mean time to decannulation of 40.8 months (95% CI, 7.9-73.7). Five patients underwent capped sleep study prior to decannulation with a mean AHI of 6.6 (95% CI, −9.9 to 23.1) and a mean oxygen nadir of 90.0% (95% CI, 80%-100%).

Conclusion

OSA is an uncommon indication for tracheostomy in children. Patients who require the procedure usually have an associated syndromic diagnosis resulting in upper airway obstruction. The majority of children who undergo tracheostomy for OSA will remain dependent at 24 months.

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