Objectives: To respond to the new recommendations for delaying tracheostomy for coronavirus disease 2019 patients to day 21 post-intubation to ensure viral clearance. Design: Prospective observational cohort from April 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020, with 60 days follow-up. Setting: Academic medical center with nine adult ICUs dedicated to caring for coronavirus disease 2019 patients requiring mechanical ventilation. Patients: Mechanically ventilated patients with coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia requiring tracheostomy for prolonged ventilatory support. Interventions: Adherence to the standard of care for timing of tracheostomy as deemed necessary by the intensivist without delay and utilizing the existing tracheostomy team in performing the needed procedures within 1 day of the request. Measurements and Main Results: One hundred eleven patients with coronavirus disease 2019 received tracheostomy in the month of April 2020. Median time to tracheostomy was 11 days. All procedures were performed percutaneously at bedside under bronchoscopic guidance. Sixty-three percent of patients who received tracheostomy either weaned or discharged alive within 60 days of the procedure. Performing tracheostomy on these patients without delay did not lead to coronavirus disease 2019 viral transmission to the tracheostomy team as evident by lack of symptoms and negative antibody testing. Conclusions: Adherence to standard of care in timing of tracheostomy is safe. Recommending delaying the procedure may lead to harmful consequences from prolonging mechanical ventilation and sedation without apparent benefit.
- coronavirus disease 2019