A Network Comparative Meta-analysis of Percutaneous Dilatational Tracheostomies Using Anatomic Landmarks, Bronchoscopic, and Ultrasound Guidance Versus Open Surgical Tracheostomy

Imran H. Iftikhar, Stephanie Erh Shuen Teng, Mathew Schimmel, Crystal Duran, Alejandro Sardi, Shaheen Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Background: Several different tracheostomy techniques (percutaneous and surgical) have been studied extensively in previous direct pairwise meta-analyses. However, a network comparative meta-analysis comparing all has not been conducted before. Objective: We sought to compare three percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy techniques with open surgical tracheostomy technique (performed in the operating room or in the intensive care unit by bedside) in terms of their association with procedure-related major complications and procedure time. Data Sources: We searched PubMed and Cochrane register of randomized active comparator trials. Data Extraction and Synthesis: A network comparative meta-analysis was performed in Stata using frequentist methodology. Major complications were defined as a composite of a priori-selected procedure-related complications. Tracheostomy techniques that did not require any direct bronchoscopic or ultrasonographic visualization of the entire procedure were grouped under the heading—anatomic landmark-based dilatational tracheostomy (ALDT). This along with bronchoscopic-guided dilatational tracheostomy (BDT), ultrasound-guided (UDT), and surgical tracheostomy (SGT) were compared with each other using network meta-analysis in Stata after all major assumptions (similarity, transitivity, and consistency) for performing a network were met. Log odds ratio (and standard errors) of the comparison of major complications between any two tracheostomy techniques (using indirect estimates) was statistically insignificant. Pairwise meta-analysis showed significant differences in procedure times between SGT and ALDT [mean difference: 9.96 min (SE 3.18)] and between SGT and BDT [15.67 min (SE 3.85)]. The indirect network meta-analysis comparing one versus the other also showed a statistically significant time difference between surgical tracheostomy when compared with every other technique. Conclusions: The results of our network meta-analysis show that all tracheostomy techniques are comparable with respect to associated procedure-related complications, but all three percutaneous techniques take far less procedure time compared to the surgical tracheostomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019



  • Network meta-analysis
  • Percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy
  • Surgical tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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