Introduction: Determining the optimal time for performing a tracheostomy and weaning a patient off a ventilator is typically challenging for physicians, respiratory therapists, patients and patients' families. Purpose: This study examined the factors influencing tracheostomy timing and ventilator weaning and described the transition-care placement of patients who experience unsuccessful ventilator weaning. Methods: A retrospective design was employed, and 2 years of data were collected through a medical chart review performed at a hospital in Northern Taiwan. Sixty patients who received tracheostomies in the intensive care unit (ICU) or respiratory care center were enrolled. The data included each patient's demographic information, disease diagnosis, and Glasgow Coma Scale score and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores. Results: For patients on a ventilator in an ICU, the tracheostomy rate was 2.7%. Early (within 21 days) and late (>21 days) tracheostomies accounted for 36.7% and 63.3%, respectively. Of the patients who had received tracheostomies, 36.7% experienced ventilator weaning. The factors related to tracheostomy timing were disease diagnosis (P = 0.036) and days of ventilator use (P = 0.003). The factors related to ventilator weaning included disease diagnosis (P = 0.010) and tracheostomy timing (P = 0.001). Early tracheostomies were 10.9 times more likely than late tracheostomies to result in ventilator weaning (95%CI =2.5–47.7, P = 0.002). Conclusions: Tracheostomy timing was strongly correlated with ventilator weaning. Early tracheostomy was higher successful ventilator weaning rates. The surgical patients were more likely to receive an early tracheostomy. However, the number of patients in Taiwan who received tracheostomies was lower than that in other countries. Further study maybe need to understand cultural variations in the acceptance of tracheostomies by patients.
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