We aim to ascertain whether the benefit of early tracheostomy can be found in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke and if the benefit will remain considering distinct pathologies.
Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocol, a search through Lilacs, PubMed, and Cochrane databases was conducted.
Included studies were those written in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese, with a formulated question, which compared outcomes between early and late trach (minimum of two outcomes), such as intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS), duration of mechanical ventilation (MV), hospital LOS, mortality rates, or ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Likewise, patients presented exclusively with head injury or stroke had minimum hospital stay follow-up, and as for severe TBI patients, they presented Glasgow Coma Scale ≤8 at admission. Evaluated outcomes were the risk ratio (RR) of VAP, risk difference (RD) of mortality, and mean difference (MD) of the duration of MV, ICU LOS, and hospital LOS.
The early and late tracheostomy cohorts were composed of 6211 and 8140 patients, respectively. The meta-analysis demonstrated that the early tracheostomy cohort had a lower risk for VAP (RR: 0.73 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.66, 0.81] p < 0.00001), shorter duration of MV (MD: -4.40 days [95% CI, -8.28, -0.53] p = 0.03), and shorter ICU (MD: -6.93 days [95% CI, -8.75, -5.11] p < 0.00001) and hospital LOS (MD: -7.05 days [95% CI, -8.27, -5.84] p < 0.00001). The mortality rate did not demonstrate a statistical difference.
Early tracheostomy could optimise patient outcomes by patients’ risk for VAP and decreasing MV durationand ICU and hospital LOS.

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