In patients with severe burns, early tracheostomy is correlated with fewer days of ventilation, shorter length of hospital stay, better physical functional independence, and earlier active exercise upon discharge from the hospital, according to a study published in Burns. For the study, Sarah Smailes, PhD, BSc (Hons), MCSP,
SRP, and colleagues compared early tracheostomy (≤10 days) with late tracheostomy (>10 days) in 41 patients with severe burns requiring prolonged respiratory support. Patients who underwent early tracheostomy had shorter hospital length of stay (65 vs 88 days; P=0.018), fewer days of mechanical ventilation (16 vs 33; P=0.001), higher Functional Assessment for Burns scores upon discharge (32 vs 28; P=0.016), and earlier first day of active exercise (day 8 vs day 25; P<0.0001). “Early tracheostomy allows for early initiation of active exercise in [patients with burns],” wrote Dr. Smailes and team, adding that early active exercise is linked with improved patient outcomes.