OBJECTIVE: The goal was to determine whether decannulation can be safely achieved in children with persistent oxygen requirements. DESIGN: The study was a prospective evaluation of 12 oxygen-dependent children at a tertiary care academic children's medical center. METHODS: Twelve tracheotomy-dependent children with persistent oxygen requirements were evaluated for decannulation. Patients requiring more than 35% FiO2 were not considered. Direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy were performed in all patients. Two required single-stage laryngotracheoplasty to correct subglottic stenosis, 1 required tracheal resection, and 7 required removal of supra-stomal granulation tissue. Oxygen was administered after decannulation through a nasal cannula. RESULTS: Decannulation was successful in 92% (11 of 12) of patients. At final follow-up, oxygen requirements decreased in 58% of patients after decannulation. CONCLUSIONS: Decannulation can be successful in children who remain oxygen dependent; conversion to a more physiologic airway may be an adjunct to reducing or eliminating their oxygen demand.
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