Early tracheostomy versus late tracheostomy in the surgical intensive care unit

Mecker G. Möller, Jason D. Slaikeu, Pablo Bonelli, Alan T. Davis, James E. Hoogeboom, Bruce W. Bonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: This study's purpose was to determine if early tracheostomy (ET) of severely injured patients reduces days of ventilatory support, the frequency of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and surgical intensive care unit (SICU) length of stay (LOS). Methods: This 2-year retrospective review included 185 SICU patients with acute injuries requiring mechanical ventilation and tracheostomy. ET was defined as 7 days or less, and late tracheostomy (LT) as more than 7 days. Results: The incidence of VAP was significantly higher in the LT group, relative to the ET group (42.3% vs. 27.2%, respectively; P <.05). Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores, hospital and SICU LOS, and the number of ventilator days were significantly higher in the LT group. Conclusions: In patients who required prolonged mechanical ventilation, there was significant decreased incidence of VAP, less ventilator time, and lower ICU LOS when tracheostomy was performed within 7 days after admission to the SICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-296
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Early tracheostomy
  • Surgical ICU
  • Timing of tracheostomy
  • VAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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