Effect of Early vs Late Tracheostomy Placement on Survival in Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: The TracMan Randomized Trial | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Caring for the Critically Ill Patient
May 22, 2013

Effect of Early vs Late Tracheostomy Placement on Survival in Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: The TracMan Randomized Trial

Author Affiliations

Caring for the Critically Ill Patient Section Editor: Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor, JAMA (angusdc@upmc.edu).

Author Affiliations: Adult Intensive Care Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (Dr Young); and Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC), Napier House, London (Drs Harrison and Rowan), England; Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Dr Cuthbertson); and Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto (Dr Cuthbertson), Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

JAMA. 2013;309(20):2121-2129. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5154

Importance Tracheostomy is a widely used intervention in adult critical care units. There is little evidence to guide clinicians regarding the optimal timing for this procedure.

Objective To test whether early vs late tracheostomy would be associated with lower mortality in adult patients requiring mechanical ventilation in critical care units.

Design and Setting An open multicentered randomized clinical trial conducted between 2004 and 2011 involving 70 adult general and 2 cardiothoracic critical care units in 13 university and 59 nonuniversity hospitals in the United Kingdom.

Participants Of 1032 eligible patients, 909 adult patients breathing with the aid of mechanical ventilation for less than 4 days and identified by the treating physician as likely to require at least 7 more days of mechanical ventilation.

Interventions Patients were randomized 1:1 to early tracheostomy (within 4 days) or late tracheostomy (after 10 days if still indicated).

Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome measure was 30-day mortality and the analysis was by intention to treat.

Results Of the 455 patients assigned to early tracheostomy, 91.9% (95% CI, 89.0%-94.1%) received a tracheostomy and of 454 assigned to late tracheostomy, 44.9% (95% CI, 40.4%-49.5%) received a tracheostomy. All-cause mortality 30 days after randomization was 30.8% (95% CI, 26.7%-35.2%) in the early and 31.5% (95% CI, 27.3%-35.9%) in the late group (absolute risk reduction for early vs late, 0.7%; 95% CI, −5.4% to 6.7%). Two-year mortality was 51.0% (95% CI, 46.4%-55.6%) in the early and 53.7% (95% CI, 49.1%-58.3%) in the late group (P = .74). Median critical care unit length of stay in survivors was 13.0 days in the early and 13.1 days in the late group (P = .74). Tracheostomy-related complications were reported for 6.3% (95% CI, 4.6%-8.5%) of patients (5.5% in the early group, 7.8% in the late group).

Conclusions and Relevance For patients breathing with the aid of mechanical ventilation treated in adult critical care units in the United Kingdom, tracheostomy within 4 days of critical care admission was not associated with an improvement in 30-day mortality or other important secondary outcomes. The ability of clinicians to predict which patients required extended ventilatory support was limited.

Trial Registration isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN28588190