To identify practice patterns regarding tracheotomy technique among pediatric otolaryngologists.
Survey of physicians.
Academic medical center.
Members of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO) residing in the United States.
Main Outcome Measures
Physician responses to survey questions, including both multiple choice and free-text responses. We used χ2 tests to determine if demographic factors (pediatric otolaryngology fellowship training, the number of tracheotomies performed yearly) correlated with differences in the technique used to perform infant tracheotomies.
A total of 168 of 225 surveys mailed to ASPO members (75%) were completed and returned. Most respondents (87%) report that they make a simple vertical incision in the trachea. An even greater number (94%) use stay sutures routinely. On other technical points, such as management of the thyroid gland, the subcutaneous fat, and the method of securing the tracheostomy tube, there was much greater variability:
22% of respondents reported having had a serious tracheotomy-related complication in the immediate postoperative period, and 58% of these physicians changed their technique as a result. In several areas, χ2 analysis revealed statistically significant differences in technique that were dependent on both fellowship training and the number of tracheotomies performed (P ≤ .05).
Among ASPO members practicing in the United States, there is near-unanimity on certain technical points, with considerable divergence on others. A substantial percentage of our colleagues have experienced a tracheotomy-related complication in the early postoperative period. In many cases, these incidents led to changes in surgical technique.