Readmission for ventilator support in tracheostomy patients with primary brain injury is often attributed to failure of airway protection and aspiration pneumonia. Data regarding the incidence of intensive care unit readmissions and associated factors in these patients are limited.
To determine the factors associated with intensive care unit readmission among tracheostomy patients with primary brain injury, as compared with tracheostomy patients without primary brain injury.
Prospectively acquired data from an ongoing tracheostomy registry at an academic health center were reviewed retrospectively. A total of 164 patients more than 18 years of age who received an elective tracheostomy and had at least 1 readmission to the intensive care unit between 2007 and 2013 were included.
The incidence of mechanical ventilation resumption and readmission was significantly higher in patients with than without primary brain injury (P = .005). Patients requiring tracheostomy for airway protection were at a higher risk for atelectasis (odds ratio, 8.23; P = .05). In patients with primary brain injury, a higher Glasgow Coma Scale score was associated with a lower risk for atelectasis (odds ratio, 0.84; P = .04). Mean (SD) Glasgow Coma Scale score was higher in patients without primary brain injury (10.64 [3.98]) than in patients with primary brain injury (8.62 [4.57]; P = .006).
Tracheostomy patients with primary brain injury may have central nervous system–mediated respiratory compromise associated with reduced Glasgow Coma Scale score, increased atelectasis, and shorter duration of ventilator dependency.