A standardized, closed-loop system for monitoring pediatric tracheostomy-related adverse events

Mallory McKeon, Daphne Munhall, Brian K. Walsh, Roger Nuss, Reza Rahbar, Mark Volk, Karen Watters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Advancement in neonatal and pediatric intensive care has increased the need for chronic-care interventions, including tracheostomy. It is well established that children with a tracheostomy are at a high risk for adverse events, many of which are preventable. Despite this, there is no standardized method of monitoring tracheostomy-related adverse events (TRAEs). Our objective was to describe and assess a standardized, closed-loop system for monitoring TRAEs. Study Design: Prospective Study. Methods: A specific tracheostomy-related category was established within the adverse event reporting system in January 2015. Monthly TRAE reports were supplied to the multidisciplinary tracheostomy team (MDT) with descriptions of event type, severity, and preventability. The MDT reviewed events and discussed necessary follow-up. The frequency of events was standardized by inpatient tracheostomy days (ITDs) using an automated monthly list. Adverse events were tracked using a control chart. Aggregated data were divided into biannual reports for analysis. Results: Eighty-five TRAEs were reported between January 2015 and June 2017, averaging 5.75 per 1,000 ITDs. Most common events include unplanned decannulation (50%) and improper use of tracheostomy supplies (21%). The frequency of all preventable events has decreased by 76% since the second half of 2015. During this timeframe, minor events have decreased, moderate events have maintained a frequency of less than one per 1,000 ITDs, and only one severe event occurred. Conclusions: This standardized, closed-loop reporting method, modeled after other successful intensive care unit reporting systems, accurately tracks TRAEs. We have observed a decrease in preventable TRAEs without a negative impact on rates of severe events. Results suggest improved quality of care for patients with tracheostomy. Level of Evidence: 4. Laryngoscope, 128:2419–2424, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2419-2424
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Tracheostomy
  • adverse events
  • artificial airway
  • pediatric
  • quality improvement
  • tracheostomy care intensive care unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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