Outcomes of Tracheostomy in Children Requiring Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease

Laura A. Ortmann, Winston M. Manimtim, Charisse I. Lachica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Outcomes after discharge in children requiring tracheostomy after cardiac surgery have not been fully described. A retrospective, single-center study was performed on all children <18 years of age requiring both tracheostomy and surgery for congenital heart disease from January 2002 to May 2015. Forty-six tracheostomies were placed after surgery and four before. Single-ventricle anatomy was present in 12 (33%) patients. Incidence of tracheostomy after heart surgery increased from 0.8% the first half of the study period to 2% the second half. Median time between cardiac surgery and tracheostomy was 58 days. The most common indication for tracheostomy was multifactorial (30%) followed by airway malacia (22%). Median length to follow-up for survivors was 3.9 years (range 0.4–11.8 years). Survival to hospital discharge was 72%, and intermediate survival was 48%. Survival in those with systemic to pulmonary artery shunts at the time of tracheostomy was 22% compared to 59% for those with biventricular anatomy. Heart failure and multiple indications for tracheostomy were associated with worse outcome. There was no difference in survival for those discharged with a ventilator compared to those that were not. The most common cause of death after discharge was tracheostomy tube dislodgement/obstruction, accounting for 5 of 11 that died. Survival with a tracheostomy after cardiac surgery is poor, and children with systemic to pulmonary artery shunts are at especially high risk of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital heart defect
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Outcomes
  • Pediatrics
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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