In the critical care environment, individuals who undergo tracheostomy are highly susceptible to tracheostomy-related pressure injuries.


To evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to reduce tracheostomy-related pressure injury in the critical care setting.


MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies of pediatric or adult patients in intensive care units conducted to evaluate interventions to reduce tracheostomy-related pressure injury. Reviewers independently extracted data on study and patient characteristics, incidence of tracheostomy-related pressure injury, characteristics of the interventions, and outcomes. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk-of-bias criteria.


Ten studies (2 randomized clinical trials, 5 quasi-experimental, 3 observational) involving 2023 critically ill adult and pediatric patients met eligibility criteria. The incidence of tracheostomy-related pressure injury was 17.0% before intervention and 3.5% after intervention, a 79% decrease. Pressure injury most commonly involved skin in the peristomal area and under tracheostomy ties and flanges. Interventions to mitigate risk of tracheostomy-related pressure injury included modifications to tracheostomy flange securement with foam collars, hydrophilic dressings, and extended-length tracheostomy tubes. Interventions were often investigated as part of care bundles, and there was limited standardization of interventions between studies. Meta-analysis supported the benefit of hydrophilic dressings under tracheostomy flanges for decreasing tracheostomy-related pressure injury.


Use of hydrophilic dressings and foam collars decreases the incidence of tracheostomy-related pressure injury in critically ill patients. Evidence regarding individual interventions is limited by lack of sensitive measurement tools and by use of bundled interventions. Further research is necessary to delineate optimal interventions for preventing tracheostomy-related pressure injury.

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