A systematic review on tracheostomy decannulation: A proposal of a quantitative semiquantitative clinical score

Pierachille Santus, Andrea Gramegna, Dejan Radovanovic, Rita Raccanelli, Vincenzo Valenti, Dimitri Rabbiosi, Michele Vitacca, Stefano Nava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tracheostomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in critical care patient management; more specifically, ventilation through tracheal cannula allows removal of the endotracheal tube (ETT). Available literature about tracheostomy care and decannulation is mainly represented by expert opinions and no certain knowledge arises from it. Methods: In lack of statistical requirements, a systematic and critical review of literature regarding tracheostomy tube removal was performed in order to assess predictor factors of successful decannulation and to propose a predictive score. We combined 3 terms and a literature search has been performed using the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); MEDLINE via Ovid SP; EMBASE via Ovid SP; EBSCO. Abstracts were independently reviewed: for those studies fitting the inclusion criteria on the basis of the title and abstract, full-text was achieved. We included studies published from January 1, 1995 until March 31, 2014; any sort of review and expert opinion has been excluded by our survey. English language restriction was applied. Ten studies have been considered eligible for inclusion in the review and were analysed further. Results: Cough effectiveness and ability to tolerate tracheostomy tube capping are the most considered parameters in clinical practice; other parameters are taken into different consideration by many authors in order to proceed to decannulation. Among them, we distinguished between objective quantitative parameters and semi-quantitative parameters more dependent from clinician's opinion. We then built a score (the Quantitative semi Quantitative score: QsQ score) based on selected parameters coming from literature. Conclusions: On our knowledge, this review provides the first proposal of decannulation score system based on current literature that is hypothetical and requires to be validated in daily practice. The key point of our proposal is to give a higher value to the objective parameters coming from literature compared to less quantifiable clinical ones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number201
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2014


  • Clinical score
  • Decannulation
  • Predictive score
  • Removal tube
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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