Various studies have reported different conclusions over the safety and benefits of early tracheostomy in burns. Our study aimed to assess the role of prophylactic tracheostomy in treatment and improvement of outcomes in inhalational burns in India.
In a retrospective descriptive analysis of burns admitted over 1 year in Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) Tertiary Burns Center in India, patients with thermal burns of TBSA less than 60% and those with indirect evidence of airway burns were enrolled and divided into two groups who underwent prophylactic tracheostomy vs. patients for whom prophylactic tracheostomy was not done. Mortality was the final point and primary variable measurement.
Totally, 10 patients with inhalational burns were admitted. Out of the 4 patients for whom prophylactic tracheostomy was undertaken, three patients survived, while one died. Out of the 6 patients for which prophylactic tracheostomy were not performed, 4 patients died; while 2 survived. The average percentage of burns TBSA in the prophylactic tracheostomy group was 34%. Average age of patients in the prophylactic tracheostomy group was 31.3 years. The average percentage burns TBSA in the group, where prophylactic tracheostomy was not carried out was 42%. Average age of patients in the prophylactic tracheostomy group was 36.2 years.
Our study is a pilot study to investigate the possibility and a way to improve outcomes in patients with inhalational injuries. Larger trials may be needed to facilitate or disprove the same.