Successful tracheostomy decannulation after complete or sensory incomplete cervical spinal cord injury.

Research paper by D H DH Kim, S W SW Kang, W A WA Choi, H J HJ Oh

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Spinal Cord


Retrospective study.To report the successful tracheostomy decannulation/extubation in cervical spinal cord injury (C-SCI) patients.Tertiary university hospital, pulmonary rehabilitation center.Complete or sensory incomplete C-SCI patients who had received invasive acute phase respiratory management, and succeeded in decannulation/extubation became candidates of this study. Retrospective review was conducted on the transitions of the respiratory status.Sixty-two patients (M: 55, F: 7) were identified. Traumatic etiologies accounted for 93.5%, and mean onset age was 47.6±15.8 years. Sixty patients (96.8%) had undergone tracheostomy and the other two received endotracheal intubation during acute phase. All patients succeeded in decannulation/extubation after employing mechanically assisted coughing and noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIV). Mean time since tracheostomy to decannulation was 7.0±14.5 months. Of the 60 tracheostomized patients, 12 succeeded in decannulation without applying long-term NIV, 31 switched to continuous NIV after decannulation. Fifteen patients totally weaned off from ventilators after NIV. Two patients who once succeeded in decannulation were re-tracheostomized. For the 31 patients with continuous NIV, mean hours of daily need for ventilatory support had reduced from 15.3±8.0 to 5.7±5.7 h at final follow-ups.Complete or sensory incomplete C-SCI patients, even with high neurological level can be successfully decannulated through NIV and aggressive use of mechanically assisted coughing. Undesirable tracheostomy can be avoided by employing the noninvasive respiratory management.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 24 January 2017; doi:10.1038/sc.2016.194.