Early Rehabilitation Reduces Time to Decannulation in Patients With Severe Acquired Brain Injury: A Retrospective Study

Ilaria Zivi, Roberto Valsecchi, Roberto Maestri, Sara Maffia, Alessio Zarucchi, Katia Molatore, Elena Vellati, Leopold Saltuari, Giuseppe Frazzitta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Early decannulation is considered a main rehabilitative goal in tracheostomized patients. Our aim is to evaluate whether a very early rehabilitation protocol helps to reduce the tracheostomy duration in patients affected by an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Methods: Data about consecutive tracheostomized patients admitted in our Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) were retrospectively collected. We defined two groups: Early Rehabilitation Group patients came from our ICU, where they started the rehabilitative treatment; Delayed Rehabilitation Group patients arrived from external ICUs and started rehabilitation in our NRU. Primary outcome was the time from tracheostomy to decannulation. Secondary outcomes were: ICU length of stay, time from NRU admission to decannulation, Glasgow Coma Scale, Coma Recovery Scale revised and Levels of Cognitive Functioning scores at NRU discharge and the re-cannulation rate. Results: We enrolled 66 patients, 40 in the Early Rehabilitation Group and 26 in the Delayed Rehabilitation Group. 70% of patients for each group could be decannulated (p = 0.73) and were analyzed. Only one patient was re-cannulated. Early Rehabilitation Group showed a shorter tracheostomy duration (61.0 vs. 94.5 days, p = 0.013), a higher probability of occurrence of decannulation (p = 0.008) and a lower ICU length of stay (30.0 vs. 52.0 days, p = 0.001). The time to decannulation in NRU was similar between groups (30.0 vs. 45.50 days, p = 0.14). All the scale scores had a significant improvement in both groups (p < 0.0001 all). Conclusions: The present study shows that an early neuro-rehabilitation protocol helps to reduce the time to decannulation in tracheostomized patients affected by ABI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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