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Keywords:

  • Lung transplant;
  • post-operative complications;
  • respiratory failure;
  • tracheostomy

The effect of tracheostomy on patients receiving lung transplantation is unknown. We reviewed our experience by performing a retrospective analysis on all lung transplant recipients at our institution. Patients were assigned to each study group based on whether or not they received a tracheostomy in the acute postoperative period. One hundred and fourteen lung transplants were performed, and 16 of those patients received a tracheostomy. In the tracheostomy group, more patients had undergone bilateral-lung transplantation (81% vs. 34%, p = 0.001), more required cardiopulmonary bypass (75% vs. 38%, p = 0.005), more acquired postoperative pneumonia (88% vs. 30%, p < 0.001), had greater reperfusion injury at 48 h (PaO2/FiO2 of 233 vs. 345, p = 0.047), had longer initial periods on the ventilator (21 ± 7 vs. 2 ± 0.5 days, p < 0.001), more required re-intubation (56% vs. 18%, p = 0.001), spent longer times in the intensive care unit (30 ± 7 vs. 5.5 ± 0.9 days, p < 0.001), and had longer lengths of stay (67 ± 10 vs. 22 ± 2 days, p < 0.001). Despite these differences between the two groups, a significant difference in survival at 180 days (75 vs. 81%) did not exist (p = 0.89). Although tracheostomy is more likely in sicker patients, it is not associated with poor long-term outcomes.