Percutaneous and Open Tracheostomy in Patients With COVID-19: The Weill Cornell Experience in New York City

Sallie M. Long, Noah Z. Feit, Alexander Chern, Victoria Cooley, Shanna S. Hill, Kapil Rajwani, Edward J. Schenck, Brendon Stiles, Andrew B. Tassler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Report long-term tracheostomy outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Study Design: Review of prospectively collected data. Methods: Prospectively collected data were extracted for adults with COVID-19 undergoing percutaneous or open tracheostomy between April 4, 2020 and June 2, 2020 at a major medical center in New York City. The primary endpoint was weaning from mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcomes included sedation weaning, decannulation, and discharge. Results: One hundred one patients underwent tracheostomy, including 48 percutaneous (48%) and 53 open (52%), after a median intubation time of 24 days (IQR 20, 31). The most common complication was minor bleeding (n = 18, 18%). The all-cause mortality rate was 15% and no deaths were attributable to the tracheostomy. Eighty-three patients (82%) were weaned off mechanical ventilation, 88 patients (87%) were weaned off sedation, and 72 patients (71%) were decannulated. Censored median times from tracheostomy to sedation and ventilator weaning were 8 (95% CI 6–11) and 18 (95% CI 14–22) days, respectively (uncensored: 7 and 15 days). Median time from tracheostomy to decannulation was 36 (95% CI 32–47) days (uncensored: 32 days). Of those decannulated, 82% were decannulated during their index admission. There were no differences in outcomes or complication rates between percutaneous and open tracheostomy. Likelihood of discharge from the ICU was inversely related to intubation time, though the clinical relevance of this was small (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.943–0.998; P =.037). Conclusion: Tracheostomy by either percutaneous or open technique facilitated sedation and ventilator weaning in patients with COVID-19 after prolonged intubation. Additional study on the optimal timing of tracheostomy in patients with COVID-19 is warranted. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 131:E2849–E2856, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2849-E2856
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Tracheostomy
  • outcomes
  • percutaneous and open tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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