Factors Associated With Time to Decannulation in Patients With Tracheostomy Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Signe J. Eskildsen, Carrinna A. Hansen, Thomas Kallemose, Derek J. Curtis, Irene Wessel, Ingrid Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Prolonged tracheal tube placement following severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause serious complications. Safe removal requires sufficient ability for independent breathing and airway protection. Thus, identifying important factors for time to removal of the tracheal tube (decannulation) is essential for safe and efficient weaning. This study aimed to identify significant factors for time to decannulation in a Danish population of subjects with tracheostomy after TBI.

METHODS: This was a retrospective register-based cohort study. Subjects with moderate and severe TBI and a tracheal tube were selected from the Danish Head Trauma Database between 2011-2021. Time to decannulation was calculated as time from injury to decannulation. Associations between selected explanatory variables representing demographic and clinical characteristics and time to decannulation were analyzed using linear regression models.

RESULTS: A total 324 subjects were included with a median of 44 d to decannulation. Primary analysis found that an improvement in swallowing ability during the initial 4 weeks of rehabilitation was associated with an 8.2 d reduction in time to decannulation (95% CI -12.3 to -4.2, P < .001). Change in overall sensorimotor ability reduced time to decannulation by 0.94 (95% CI -0.78 to -0.10, P = .03) d. Change in cognitive abilities from rehab admission to 4-week follow-up did not significantly affect the number of days to decannulation ( P = .66). Secondary analysis showed pneumonia was associated with the largest estimated increase of 24.4 (95% CI 15.9-32.9, P < .001) d and that increased cognitive functioning at rehabilitation admission was associated with a significant reduction in time to decannulation.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found that a change in swallowing ability is a potentially significant factor for reducing time to decannulation. Identifying factors that could explain differences in time to decannulation is essential for patient outcomes, especially if these factors are modifiable and could be targeted in rehabilitation and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRespiratory Care
Pages (from-to)566-574
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • decannulation
  • registry
  • rehabilitation
  • TBI
  • tracheostomy
  • traumatic brain injury
  • Device Removal
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic/rehabilitation
  • Deglutition
  • Time Factors
  • Denmark
  • Tracheostomy
  • Female
  • Adult
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Aged
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Airway Extubation


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