For decades, controversy has raged regarding the placement of tracheostomy in severe paediatric burns. Numerous variables including extent of smoke inhalation injury, % TBSA burned, age of the patient, and co-morbidities among others complicate reaching consensus. Furthermore, paediatric patients are particularly susceptible to complications including inadvertent loss of airway and long-term swallowing and other anatomic issues. Additionally, previous analysis of the efficacy of tracheostomy in paediatric burn patients appears to be hindered by a lack of nationwide analysis. The aim of this study was to explore the efficacy of tracheostomy in the general paediatric burn patient population. De-identified patient data was obtained from the TriNetX Research Network database. Two cohorts were identified: paediatric burn patients with tracheostomy (cohort A) and paediatric burn patients without tracheostomy (cohort B). Burn patients were identified using the ICD-10 codes T20-T25 & T30-T32. Tracheostomy was identified using the ICD-10 codes 1005887, 1014613, 31600, 31601, 31603, 31604, 31610, and Z93.0. A total of 132 patients were identified in cohort A in 23 HCOs and 83,117 patients were identified in cohort B in 38 HCOs. Infection, hypovolemia, pulmonary injury, laryngeal injury, pneumonia, and death were compared between the cohorts. Cohort A had a mean age of 11 (SD=5) and Cohort B had a mean age of 9 (SD=5). Paediatric burn patients with tracheostomy had a higher risk for death, infection, hypovolemia, pulmonary injury, laryngeal injury, and pneumonia when compared to their non-tracheostomy counterparts. The risk ratios for these outcomes were 62.452, 4.713, 9.267, 26.483, 116.163, and 18.154, respectively. The analysis of the longitudinal outcomes of pediatric burn patients with tracheostomy as compared to those without tracheostomy demonstrated the tracheostomy cohort suffered much worse mortality and morbidity across several metrics. The potential benefits of tracheostomy placement in pediatric burn patients should be weighed against these outcomes.
Nicholas J. Iglesias, A. Prasai, G. Golovko
Journal of Burn Care & Research