Background Information concerning tracheostomy after operations for congenital heart disease has come primarily from single-center reports. We aimed to describe the epidemiology and outcomes associated with postoperative tracheostomy in a multi-institutional registry. Methods The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Database (2000 to 2014) was queried for all index operations with the adverse event "postoperative tracheostomy" or "respiratory failure, requiring tracheostomy." Patients with preoperative tracheostomy or weighing less than 2.5 kg undergoing isolated closure of patent ductus arteriosus were excluded. Trends in tracheostomy incidence over time from January 2000 to June 2014 were analyzed with a Cochran-Armitage test. The patient characteristics associated with operative mortality were analyzed for January 2010 to June 2014, including deaths occurring up to 6 months after transfer of patients to long-term care facilities. Results From 2000 to 2014, the incidence of tracheostomy after operations for congenital heart disease increased from 0.11% in 2000 to a high of 0.76% in 2012 (p < 0.0001). From 2010 to 2014, 648 patients underwent tracheostomy. The median age at operation was 2.5 months (25th, 75th percentile: 0.4, 7). Prematurity (n = 165, 26%), genetic abnormalities (n = 298, 46%), and preoperative mechanical ventilation (n = 275, 43%) were common. Postoperative adverse events were also common, including cardiac arrest (n = 131, 20%), extracorporeal support (n = 87, 13%), phrenic or laryngeal nerve injury (n = 114, 18%), and neurologic deficit (n = 51, 8%). The operative mortality was 25% (n = 153). Conclusions Tracheostomy as an adverse event of operations for congenital heart disease remains rare but has been increasingly used over the past 15 years. This trend and the considerable mortality risk among patients requiring postoperative tracheostomy support the need for further research in this complex population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine