DOI: 10.1002/lio2.1135 ISSN:

A retrospective analysis of COVID‐19 tracheostomies: Early versus late tracheostomy

Roger Bui, Ahmad Kasabali, Karuna Dewan
  • General Medicine



To assess the impact of early tracheostomy (ET) versus late tracheostomy (LT) placement on mortality and decannulation rates of COVID patients.


A retrospective chart review was performed of all patients infected with COVID‐19 who underwent tracheostomy tube placement in an Ochsner‐affiliated hospital from March 2020 to May 2022. Patients were identified using the electronic medical record and data was collated using the “Epic SlicerDicer” tool. Descriptive statistics were gathered and compared between patients who underwent ET placement and those who underwent LT placement. Patient demographics, previous medical history, tracheostomy procedural details, arterial blood gases, complications, and outcomes including time to wean from the ventilator, and time to decannulation were recorded.


Two‐hundred nineteen patients were included in the study. There were no statistically significant differences in liberation from mechanical ventilation rates between early and LT (62% vs. 55%, p = .19), or in decannulation rates (40% vs. 32%, p = .14). The mean duration of time to liberation from mechanical ventilation for early trach was 13.88 versus 18.17 days for late trach, however, no statistically significant difference was found (p = .12). Similarly, mean duration of time to decannulation was 41.17 days for early versus 47.72 for late trach (p = .15).


Contrary to some studies in the literature, the results presented here suggest ETs are not associated with hastened liberation from mechanical ventilation or increased decannulation rates. Further prospective studies may be warranted in assessing the impact of early versus LT in the COVID patient population.

Level of Evidence


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