Factors associated with tracheostomy decannulation in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology






Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD); Decannulation; Infant; Tracheostomy; Ventilator-dependence


OBJECTIVE: Premature infants represent a unique subset of patients who may require tracheostomy. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is among one of the most common sequelae of prematurity contributing to the need for prolonged ventilation requiring tracheostomy after other airway options have been exhausted. Our objective is to understand socioeconomic barriers to decannulation and identify factors that accelerate safe decannulation, focusing on patients with BPD. METHODS: An existing internal database from a tertiary pediatric hospital of patients undergoing tracheostomy prior to one year old was reviewed. Data from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2020 was used to compare patients who were successfully decannulated to those who were not. A further subset of infants with BPD were identified and analyzed. Of those decannulated, survival analysis was used to identify factors associated with decreased time to decannulation. RESULTS: We identified 303 infants who underwent tracheostomy at less than one year old with 125 of those infants having a diagnosis of BPD. Of the 125 infants with BPD, 44 (35.2 %) were decannulated and 81 (64.8 %) were not. There was no significant difference in sex, race, ethnicity, insurance status, comorbidities, or presence of syndromes between those patients with BPD who were decannulated and those who were not. Those who were not decannulated had a significantly longer length of hospital stay, prolonged ventilator requirements after tracheostomy, and were more likely to be discharged home on the ventilator (p = 0.030; 0.020; 0.002, respectively). Of the 44 decannulated patients, mean and median time to decannulation were 37.9 and 27.8 months respectively (range 10.8-160.6 months). There was an inverse association with decannulation and both Black race (HR: 0.30) and neurological comorbidity (HR: 0.37) on multivariate analysis. Black race, presence of syndrome, and length of ventilator dependence were significantly associated with increased time to decannulation. Time to decannulation from time off the ventilator was not significantly influenced by sex, race, ethnicity, state of residence, or insurance status, but was significantly influenced by age (95 % CI: -6.9, -0.1; P = 0.044). While time from discharge to first follow up visit did not significantly impact time to decannulation, every additional follow up visit increased time to decannulation by 3.78 months when adjusting for confounding variables. CONCLUSION: In infants with BPD under one year requiring tracheostomy, socioeconomic factors were not found to influence likelihood of decannulation, however Black race, presence of underlying syndrome, and increased length of ventilator dependence were associated with prolonged timing. Children with more frequent follow up visits similarly had an increased time to decannulation, illustrating a vital point in the process. Ventilator weaning protocols and standardized decannulation protocols in patients with BPD, along with caregiver education, can safely expedite and facilitate decannulation.